Glenwood tops Palisade in battle of 3A’s top two teams
Seventy-four yards in four plays.
That’s all it took Glenwood Springs to score the winning touchdown with six minutes left Saturday afternoon to give the second-ranked Demons a 29-22 win over No. 1 Palisade at in front of a near sellout crowd Stocker Stadium.
“That was the game,” Glenwood Springs coach Rocky Whitworth said. “If we hadn’t scored, it would have been very easy for them to get into four-down territory and grind it out on the ground on us.”
Before the clinching score, Palisade had taken a 22-21 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Travis Fehlman to cap a 17-play drive that took eight minutes off the clock.
The drive appeared to sway all the momentum to Palisade, but with Demons’ senior quarterback, Dakota Stonehouse, on the Glenwood sideline, both teams knew the game was far from over.
Stonehouse connected with Michael Hudson for five yards on the first play. Next, Stonehouse lofted a pass over Palisade defenders, connecting with Connor Riley for 37 yards.
With the ball on the Bulldogs’ 34-yard line, Stonehouse called his own number, running right up the middle of the Palisade defense, shaking off defenders for the final 10 yards of his 31-yard rumble that put the ball at the 4-yard line.
Hudson scored the touchdown on a 4-yard run.
“We were on the sidelines talking to everyone that we have to get it into the end zone,” Stonehouse said. “We had that mentality going onto the field knowing they weren’t going to stop us.”
Stonehouse wasn’t done yet. The Demons were forced to go for the two-point conversion leading by
only five points. Stonehouse evaded the rush and scampered into the corner of the end zone.
“Dakota is an outstanding athlete who is looking to make plays,” Whitworth said. “Plays were being made by both teams and timing-wise, it came our way when we needed them to.”
After a touchback, Palisade had 80 yards to drive in roughly five minutes. There were signs of hope for the Bulldogs when quarterback Jake Appling connected with Matt Young on a 28-yard pass play on fourth down, but the drive sputtered near midfield when Appling threw incomplete on fourth and 23.
“It was a great game and we lost,” Palisade coach John Arledge said.
While the Demons (8-0, 6-0 Western Slope Conference) will celebrate a third consecutive win over Palisade (8-1, 6-1 WSC) and most likely a conference championship, the Bulldogs will reflect upon the game and see one glaring set of mistakes.
Palisade had three fumbles, two of which it lost, including a fumbled snap on its opening drive inside its own 20-yard line. That turnover set up Glenwood’s first score.
Stonehouse ran the ball in from 11 yards out to put the Demons up 6-0 early.
“Turnovers were the key,” Palisade running back Aaron Wagler said. “Everyone makes mistakes, it just matters when you make them, and we made our mistakes at the wrong time.”
The Bulldogs’ next lost fumble occurred late in third quarter when Appling lost the handle and the ball bounced right to Riley at the Glenwood 49-yard line. Hudson put Glenwood up 21-15 with a 28-yard touchdown run.
Palisade showed heart early after Glenwood took a 12-0 lead when Stonehouse connected with Kevin
Screen on a 55-yard touchdown pass.
The Bulldogs responded on the next drive, with Wagler scoring Palisade’s first touchdown on a 10-yard run.
Glenwood added a 26-yard field goal from Clay Hawkins, but the Bulldogs scored right before halftime to tie the game 15-15.
“It is a great accomplishment (beating Palisade) three straight years,” Stonehouse said. “They are great team with a great coaching staff and it is good to come out of here with a win.”
Stonehouse finished the game 18 for 29 passing for 234 yards and added 50 yards rushing. Screen was the Demons’ leading receiver, catching five balls for 90 yards.
The Bulldogs were led by Fehlman, who rushed for 106 yards on 19 carries. Wagler had 18 carries for 65 yards in the Bulldogs’ first loss of the season. Palisade wraps up the regular season this week against Rifle. Glenwood Springs has Moffat County and Steamboat Springs left on its schedule.
“This loss will bring us to where we need to be,” Wagler said. “I would rather take this loss any day and win in the playoffs.”