Devils fall to Demons in game marred by flags
Eagle Valley puts up a good fight on senior night but can’t pull out the win
GYPSUM — The Devils and Demons both wear red, but fans at Hot Stuff Stadium on Friday night saw way too much yellow.
Illegal procedure. Offsides. Holding. Personal fouls for illegal blocks and facemasks.
The officiating crew for the non-league game will likely have some sore arms Saturday morning for all the flags thrown in a 35-20 win for visiting Glenwood Springs. All told, both teams racked up 19 penalties between them, with the Devils whistled for 10.
The Devils repeatedly came back to life after getting down, but couldn’t overcome all the mistakes — and a questionable spot that killed what could have been a game-tying drive late in the fourth quarter — in the loss.
Down 28-20, Eagle Valley drove all the way down to the Demons’ 36, but on fourth-and-1, Will Geiman looked to have a first down, only for officials to spot the ball a few inches short of the line to gain. Eagle Valley coach John Davis had an animated exchange with officials that held up the game, but to no avail.
“From our vantage point, the refs are the refs. They’ve got the ultimate say,” Davis said. “From our perspective, it looked like we did have the first down. When there is a discrepancy on the spot, I talked to the white hat and asked, ‘Can you explain that to me?’ But whatever happens, we’ve got to execute better. The refs are the refs. (The Demons) have gotta play with the refs an we’ve got to play with the refs, too.”
The Demons took over on possession and then bled the clock out on a 13-play scoring drive. To sum up the night, the Devils were called for offsides on a critical third-and-1 from their own 11. The Demons got the first down and scored three plays later when Joaquin Sandoval dove in over right guard.
The Devils had a last-gasp drive in the final two minutes that ended with Geiman being sacked on third-and-10 from the 12, running out the clock.
The loss was Eagle Valley’s fourth in a row in a season marked by thrilling overtime wins and gut-wrenching losses in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Eagle Valley fell to 3-4 on the season, while Glenwood Springs improved to 4-4 overall.
Two illegal procedure penalties killed the Devils’ opening drive, and after a short punt, the Demons needed only four plays to score after taking over at their 44. Raymond Rosenmerkel found a crease in the Devils’ defense to break off a 40-yard run on the Demons’ first offensive play, and three plays later, he scored from 13 yards out on the exact same play call.
The Devils got a 33-yard return from Erich Petersen on the ensuing kickoff, but coughed up the ball two plays later at their own 39.
Eagle Valley’s defense came to the rescue, and it looked like the Devils were going to get the ball back after forcing the Demons into a fourth-and-20 from the 38. But Sandoval took a deep drop and then unloaded a 40-yard bomb into the right corner of the end zone that Blake Nieslanik hauled in for the score. After the extra point, it was 14-0 Demons.
The Devils picked up two first downs on its ensuing possession, driving all the way to the Demons’ 44, but Geiman was stuffed on a keeper on fourth-and-3.
The Devils’ defense finally kept the Demons out of the end zone on their next drive after driving to the Eagle Valley 34. On fourth-and-11, Max Jaramillo and Kodi Raper sacked Sandoval to turn the ball back over to Eagle Valley.
After a false start penalty, Eagle Valley went on a 12-play, 56-yard scoring drive capped by Geiman plunging in from 3 yards out.
Glenwood answered with a scoring drive of its own with Sandoval plunging in from a yard out on second down.
The Devils got off to a great start in the second half, stripping a fumble from Glenwood on its opening possession. Two plays later, Geiman found Petersen wide open for a 56-yard scoring strike that made it 21-12.
Geiman and Petersen came to Davis to ask to take the shot downfield.
“They just weren’t respecting our guys out there, so we made them pay for it,” Geiman said.
“I believe you trust your seniors,” Davis added. “They said, ‘Hey, the corner’s not respecting us over there. Coach, let’s take the shot.’ … All credit goes to them.”
Glenwood Springs answered with another touchdown from Sandoval to make it 28-12 with 1:33 remaining in the third quarter.
Eagle Valley responded with another Geiman touchdown strike, this one a 49-yard pass to Kaden Kraft that after the 2-point conversion pulled the Devils to within one score, down 28-20.
That’s the closest the Devils got, after not picking up the first down on their following drive.
“It’s tough when the refs don’t go your way, but you’ve just go to work through it,” Geiman said. “I’d say they were a little whistle happy, but we need to clean it up for next week.”
The home crowd struck around after the loss to hear Davis honor his 10 seniors with some impassioned words. There were hugs, and some tears, and a lot of cheers.
“This is an extremely special group,” Davis said. “I love these guys. I was an assistant last year, so I know these guys, I love these guys. They’re special. When you come in and put a new offense in and a new defense in and you do some different things on special teams, you’re asking guys who’ve done it a certain way a really big mind shift. All credit goes to them. They are great kids. They are winners on the football field and, more importantly, they’re winners in life.”
Those 10 seniors — Joe Lee, Eric Hasley, Branden Vigil, Will Geiman, Erich Petersen, Tatum Coe, Kodi Raper, Grey Mathews, Logan Trujillo, and Michael Parker — haven’t played their last home game, however, under the lights at John Rammuno Field.
The Devils host Summit at home next Friday for homecoming.