Logan Gilmore knows a thing or two about what it means to give 100%.
It doesn’t matter whether the Erie junior is prepping his solo song for All-State choir or learning his assignments on the offensive line or defensive line on the football field. If it’s something he loves, he’s going to give his best for his team and for his fellow singers.
Nobody knows what that level of commitment looks like better than his coach, Jeff Giger. He’s witnessed that full-flung effort every day of the season, but even more so since the Tigers’ Week 8 game against Greeley West, when he doubled up on the O-line and D-line. Normally, Erie players execute one or the other.
“He’s been huge, not only going to defense but even offensively,” Giger said. “Three weeks ago or so, our starting nose guard got hurt, tore his ACL, and we had to move (Gilmore) over. He just stepped in seamlessly and has really helped us on the defensive side. Playing both sides for us has probably been the hardest thing because we weren’t training him to play both sides until that point. He’s done a great job of doing it and those are two tough positions to be able to play a full game in and he’s been fantastic.”
Now, Giger believes Gilmore has worked his way into a possible all-conference selection. His transition from offense to defense has proven seamless for a player that was used to playing D-line before Giger took over the program this year.
He certainly has the talent and the drive to back up that postseason honor, but that’s just par for the course for a team that has yet to lose a game this season. They’ll need every bit of that production come Saturday when the fifth-seeded Tigers welcome No. 1 Montrose to their field for the semifinals of the Class 4A state playoffs.
“I think every team has a main goal to go in and win state and everything but I think for us, it’s a little different,” Gilmore said. “This town hasn’t seen a state championship from our football team in years and the last time we went, we lost to Palmer Ridge.”
Just last week, the Tigers completed their revenge against Palmer Ridge by knocking it out of the playoffs with a disciplined 28-18 victory. They have plenty of top talent in guys like sophomore quarterback Blake Barnett and senior running back Caleb Theisen, but they’ll need every single man on the field to drive them to victory over 4A Colorado’s top dog on Saturday afternoon.
Luckily for them, they have plenty of players like Gilmore.
“We got a few kids that have gotten different accolades and probably people talk about them more but we’ve got a lot of young men that just come here and go to work,” Giger said. “There are quite a few of them that are going and looking beyond high school for playing, but I don’t know if their names are brought up probably as much as they should be for how important they are to what we do.
“I think that’s the biggest thing. He comes, he goes to work, does what we ask him to do and we have so many other young men like that that just fly under the radar. That’s probably why we are where we are.”
No. 1 Montrose at No. 5 Erie
Game Details: Saturday, 1 p.m., at Erie High School
Forecast: Both teams enter the matchup with active unbeaten streaks, but one team will fall on Saturday. Montrose will bring a mighty offense that took down six playoff teams during the regular season and has outscored its opponents 499-164 to date. Montrose has relied a bit more on the passing game in the playoffs than during the regular season as quarterback Gage Wareham has thrown for 225 yards through two games. Ethan Hartmann leads the rest of the offense with 286 rushing yards and 170 receiving yards. If the Tigers hope to pull off the upset, they’ll have to find ways to shut those two down while relying on their versatile offense as well as their men in the trenches to carry them to victory. It all starts with the offensive and defensive lines.
Difference-makers: Blake Barnett and Caleb Theisen. Barnett has led the Tigers through a dominant passing and run game as he’s collected 1,763 yards in the air and 694 more on the ground. Theisen has run for 1,324 yards while receiving an additional 307. As long as defensive men like Gilmore can do their jobs well enough, the Tigers will need Barnett and Theisen to do what they’ve done best all season long to carry them to the Class 4A state title game.