Emotions get best of Demons, Bulldogs
The emotion of sports is what draws us to love them, but there are times when those emotions can go too far.
Monday’s soccer game between Glenwood Springs and Moffat County was a time when emotions overtook athletes on both teams and resulted in an ugly ending.
The Demons won the close, back-and-forth game, 2-1, but what is more memorable is the final 10 minutes of the game.
Glenwood senior defender Dylan Weller received a red card after spitting in Moffat County senior forward Jose Pepe Loya’s face. Weller’s actions were retaliation after Loya elbowed him in the face. The official was in front of the play, but he turned around to see Weller spit.
The incident came after 70 minutes of a game that was physical on both sides.
Glenwood players were upset because the initial elbow went unpunished; Moffat players were upset because they weren’t allowed a penalty kick after the card.
“It happened in the box and when the ball was in play,” Moffat County coach Jeff Hammond said. “It should have been a penalty kick.”
The moment that will have Weller sitting out Glenwood’s next game was the pinnacle of a game that had aggression building since the opening kick.
The coaches on each sideline said their teams lost the psychological edge in the game.
“There were calls that could have been made on both sides, and when calls don’t happen, kids try to get away with a little more,” Hammond said. “The emotions and passion started to build as the game got more physical. At times, our emotions got the best of both teams.”
Glenwood coach Craig Plizga asked for information about the officials after the game because he was not pleased.
“We couldn’t keep our heads in the game,” Plizga said. “(Moffat) got in our heads with their physical play, and it wasn’t stopped.”
Last year, a fight ensued during the Moffat/Glenwood game in Craig.
“Glenwood is a physical, passionate team,” Hammond said.
The first 70 minutes
There was some good, competitive soccer played before the red card. Glenwood struck first when Dylan Gallacher lofted a pass from left-to-right in front of the goal and Patrick Shepard finished the play with a header into the right corner.
Plizga was pleased with the goal that came in the 20th minute.
“We’ve been working on switching fields to score,” he said. “That was a great play.”
Loya was taken down in the box 15 minutes later to set up a penalty kick.
Goalie Malcolm Hillewaert finished the penalty kick to tie the game.
During the final 10 minutes of the first half, Moffat, which had been out shot 3 to 1 in the first half, put six shots at Matt Hartman. With two minutes remaining, Hartman made a diving, fingertip save to keep the game tied.
Glenwood controlled the ball and limited Moffat’s scoring chances in the second half.
The Demons’ ball control led to the second goal of the game, as well.
Eleven minutes into the half, Glenwood players on the attack dribbled in and out of the Moffat defense on the 18-yard line, and Ryan Zerfross put a pass over a surprised Hillewaert to put his team up.
“I was proud of the way we played as far as controlling the ball and passing,” Plizga said. “All (Moffat) had was two guys who would chase long kicks.”
Glenwood has eeked out one-goal wins in the past four games against the Bulldogs.
“It’s like that with Rifle and Glenwood all the time,” Hammond said. “We’re just one goal off the threshold against those teams.”
Hammond wasn’t happy with how physical the game became, but he said that if it had to come, he’d rather have it come now.
“It prepares us for the playoffs because they play very physical on the Front Range,” he said. “I’m glad it wasn’t like this the first time around against them, because the second time could have been a melee.”
Moffat must turn right around for Battle Mountain today. The Huskies wrapped up the league title with a 1-0 win against Glenwood on Saturday.
“It will be a much faster-paced game tomorrow,” Hammond said.
The game is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.
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