Turnovers, big plays decided Palisade/Glenwood Springs outcome
Palisade coach John Arledge just knew it.
Before last Saturday’s game against Glenwood Springs, the fourth-year head coach said the keys would
be turnovers and big plays.
Looking back at the Bulldogs’ 29-22 loss to the Demons, it was the two fumbles and big plays allowed that handed Palisade its first loss of the season.
“Turnovers are going to be huge and whoever has the big plays,” Arledge said before the game.
The Bulldogs still had good numbers offensively, gaining 333 yards, but were unable to come up with a big play when they needed one. The Bulldogs’ three touchdown drives all were slow and methodical, running the ball down Glenwood’s throat before scoring from the 10-yard line or closer.
Glenwood, on the other hand, had three of its four touchdowns come from at least 10 yards out.
The Bulldogs are never happy with a loss, but they’re hoping the tough game against Glenwood can propel them into the playoffs similar to last season, when the Bulldogs lost to the Demons but responded with a five-game winning streak and a run to the Class 3A state semifinals.
“This is preseason to Palisade football. As long as we can get into the playoffs, that is when the real season starts,” Palisade running back Aaron Wagler said.
The Bulldogs finish out the regular season this week against Rifle and still have a shot at the conference championship. Glenwood has two games remaining.
In Class 5A football, all that matters for the playoffs is the points. The Colorado High School Activities Association awards points to every team based on certain criteria, like wins against other 5A opponents.
Fruita Monument is coming off a difficult loss to Class 4A Montrose 34-17, and even though the Wildcats have lost two straight, they are still sitting pretty in the most recent wild card points released Monday.
The playoffs consist of the top 32 teams, and Fruita is currently 24th with 45.5 points. The Wildcats are in a good situation heading into the final game of the regular season against 6-2 Poudre, which is ranked 14th in the wild card standings. If the Wildcats can play competitive, even with a loss, they should make the postseason.
Central has won the games it has needed to this season. The Warriors defeated Grand Junction last weekend 12-7, giving them victories over both the Tigers and Fruita Monument. Add two wins against 5A teams earlier this year (Horizon and Gateway) and Central is currently 21st in wild card points at 47.8.
With a win Friday against Durango, Central would lock up second place in the Southwestern Conference and make it back into the postseason after missing out last year.
Although the other two 5A schools are in good position for the postseason, Grand Junction is on the bubble. The Tigers are 36th with 28.000 points, so Grand Junction will not only need to defeat Montrose on Friday but also hope teams above them lose.
The Tigers are in the tough spot because their two wins are against 4A teams. The Tigers lost close games to Central and Fruita Moument, both games in which they had chances to win. The Tigers will be taking on a Montrose team that is currently ranked 5th in Class 4A wild card points.