Demons rally past Fort Morgan behind Stonehouse’s three TDs
AURORA — The cap said it all.
Immediately after its 23-14 victory Saturday over Fort Morgan for the Class 3A state football championship, Glenwood Springs players and coaches were donning red baseball caps.
“Glenwood, State Champions, 3A, 2008,” the caps proclaimed.
After 28 years between championships, Glenwood earned the state title with an undefeated season after downing the previously unbeaten Mustangs at Legacy Stadium.
The backbone of the team, its 20 seniors, had finally figured out what it took to achieve a goal many of them had set as fourth graders in youth football.
(It’s) learning what playing for each other meant,” one of those seniors, Aaron Zancanella, said.
Prior to retiring to their motel rooms Friday night, the players were handed a slip of paper.
It said, ‘Think about the kid in the bed next to you,’” Zancanella said.
In brief, it meant to think of their teammates with every decision they made on the field Saturday.
“The chemistry has to be right,” Glenwood head coach Rocky Whitworth said.
Winning with this group of seniors was special for Whitworth.
“You know, it’s powerful because they got hooked into this program as sophomores,” Whitworth said.
It was before their sophomore season that they bought into what the coach was trying to tell them, about what it would take to reach and win the title game.
Glenwood had scored on its first drive in its three previous playoff games (all against Tri-Valley Conference opponents, as was Fort Morgan).
The Demons found the Mustangs’ defense, considered the best in 3A, to be as good as advertised early. It wasn’t until quarterback Dakota Stonehouse hooked up with receiver Kevin
Screen on a five-yard pass in the end zone that was tipped by a defender that the Demons could break the scoreless tie on the opening play of the second quarter.
Trailing 10-0, Fort Morgan proved it wasn’t going to go away easily. The Demons, well outsized by the large, powerful Mustangs offensive line, kept the Fort Morgan running game in check.
That forced the Mustangs to go an unfamiliar route — through the air — as it scored on a 29-yard pass play to tailback Chris Cobbley with 23 seconds remaining in the half.
Glenwood led 17-14 early in the fourth quarter. Again, it was up to the defense to preserve the lead.
“Our whole goal was to get our offense the ball,” junior 140-pound linebacker Taylor Parsons said.
He did his part, intercepting a pass from Fort Morgan’s Garrett Pape.
Nursing the three-point lead, the Demons held the Mustangs to no yards on three downs with
just over three minutes remaining, forcing a punt. From there, Glenwood put the icing on the cake when quarterback Dakota Stonehouse ran it in from seven yards out with 48.5 seconds
remaining to seal the victory.
Stonehouse had four carries on the final seven-play drive. His goal: “I want the ball; I want to get a first down,” he said.
The Demons held Cobbley, one of the state’s leading rushers, to 75 yards on 16 carries.
“He was like a bowling ball,” Parsons said. “We knew we had to tackle with a bunch of guys.”
The plan, Zancanella said, was to tackle him low.
“It was like reaching around a big-ole’ tree (to tackle him),” he said.
Clutching the gold-ball championship trophy, another senior linebacker, Jordan Ciani, summed it up.
“We play with our hearts and our minds,” he said of being outsized nearly every game this season. “It just goes to show you anybody can overcome adversity.”