Running game leads Palisade past Glenwood
Palisade High School defensive back Cody Latham watched, waited, then pounced.
Trailing 7-3, Glenwood Springs was driving in the second quarter, and momentum was shifting back to the Demons on Thursday night at Stocker Stadium.
Senior quarterback Travis Lundin had completed four passes on slant patterns in the game. That’s when Latham grabbed an interception and the momentum back for Palisade. The turnover led to a 28-yard touchdown pass from Levi Hoaglund to Jack Millard to give Palisade a 13-3 lead.
Palisade dominated the second half and turned the game into a rout, pounding the Demons 34-18 in 3A Western Slope Conference play.
“I saw that they had run the same pattern a few times, and I just timed it and got the interception,” Latham said. “My teammates took over from there.”
The senior timed the play perfectly, snagging the interception in full stride and returning it 20 yards into Glenwood territory.
With Glenwood’s defense playing tough, hard-nosed football, Palisade coach Joe Ramunno turned away from the traditional flexbone option game and went to a power running game.
“We went to more of our power option stuff because of their defense,” Ramunno said.
Senior Dalton Hannigan was taking more direct handoffs, and Glenwood defenders had trouble containing the quick-footed tailback.
Hannigan sliced and slashed through the Demons’ defense for a 35-yard run in the third quarter to push the lead to 20-3. The senior, who only had 22 yards in the first half, finished with 151 yards on 16 carries.
He found big holes and nice running lanes throughout the second half and had a long gain of 43 yards in the game.
“They play smash-mouth football just like us, and we just knew we had to focus and play our game. It was a very physical game,” Hannigan said.
After the second-quarter interception, momentum was elusive for the Demons, but when Derrick Chase blocked a Palisade punt at the 1-yard line, Glenwood plowed its way back into the game. Chase scored two plays later on a 2-yard run to cut the lead to 20-10.
The Bulldogs quickly yanked the momentum back, and after Hannigan’s nifty footwork resulted in a 23-yard touchdown run, the lead was 27-10 early in the fourth. Hannigan’s score was set up by a 23-yard run by Trevor Garcia on a fourth-and-one.
The first half was bizarre at times and ultra-exciting at other times for Palisade fans.
After seeing his only two passes hit the ground last week, Hoaglund displayed an accurate and strong arm Thursday night. His TD toss to Millard was a gorgeous, high-arching toss that dropped into the tight end’s arms after he got behind the Glenwood secondary.
The TD came after a strange interference call on the Demons. The Bulldogs had a touchdown pass nullified on a penalty later in the second half, too.
Hoaglund completed three of seven passes for 62 yards and the one TD. He also rushed for 72 yards.
Ramunno smiled when he talked about the Bulldogs’ offense being more diverse than it was in Week 1.
“I said that we were a little vanilla last week, but today we had a little chocolate chip,” he said. “We will continue to add stuff, but our baseline stuff has to be good.”
Austin Terry scored on a one-yard run and also had an interception for the Bulldogs.
Palisade (2-0, 1-0 WSC) started out with an impressive opening drive — smash-mouth football personified.
The 14-play, 70-yard drive was all runs, and the Bulldogs converted three third downs, the first on a 17-yard run by Garcia. Hoaglund finished off the drive with a 1-yard plunge.
Glenwood (0-2, 0-1 WSC) promptly answered with a drive of its own. Henry Hill had runs of 17 and 13 yards to set up a 27-yard field goal by Robert Hiles.
Glenwood’s final score came on a 45-yard TD pass from Lundin to Everett Marr with eight seconds to go in the game.