By Chris Freud
EDWARDS - As Battle Mountain volleyball was closing out its Eagle Valley counterparts on Saturday, the Devils' student section started chanting, "See you Friday."
Likely a good portion of that section consisted of members of the Devils football team and they were nothing if not good to their word.
The Devils flattened the Huskies, 62-0, Friday night in Edwards, ending emphatically three years of frustration (and losses) at the hands of their archrivals.
Think the Eagle Valley football team remembered all those chants at other games like, "Wait 'til football" or "Just like football?"
Think the Devils remembered how the Huskies warmed up in Edwards before last year's rivalry game before leisurely sauntering off the bus in Gypsum about 15 minutes before kickoff?
In fact, Eagle Valley returned the favor Friday night with its bus arriving in Edwards at 6:35. Led by head coach John Ramunno, the Devils got off the bus in full pads and helmets ready to go.
Think the Devils remember the 54-0 pasting the Huskies administered last year?
That would be a yes.
As well as calling in those markers, Eagle Valley improved its playoff prospects, upping its record to 7-1 overall and 5-1 in the 3A Slope. Big tests loom for the Devils with Palisade coming to Gypsum this week and a season ending showdown at Rifle.
But in the meantime, Eagle Valley was happy to celebrate its first win over Battle Mountain in four years.
And it came rather easily. Eagle Valley went 58 yards on six plays on their first possession. Cole Nielsen, Zeke Sandoval, Rick Ramunno and Jay Dostal all had big gains on the ground. Jesus Garcia did the honors of the first score of the night with a 5-yarder four minutes into the game.
A holding penalty stymied the Devils' second drive and threatened to derail their third, but Eagle Valley was simply blowing Battle Mountain off the line of scrimmage. Eagle Valley particularly exploited the Huskies on the outside with two big runs from Sandoval. Nielsen plunged in from two yards out for 14-0 lead.
By the second quarter, Eagle Valley essentially ran at will. The Devils' first four plays on their third scoring drive were Nielsen for 13 yards; Dostal for 15; Ayren Hart for 21 and Sandoval for 14. Ramunno got the 2-yarder for the score.
With 8:02 left in the first half Cole Nielsen intercepted a Battle Mountain pass on the Huskies' 38. The Devils ripped off yards on the ground and then let quarterback Jordon Hudspeth get in on the fun. He hit Sam Boyd for a 31-yard touchdown and a 28-0 lead.
Eagle Valley's defense also got in on the act. Roberto Cortez recovered a Huskies fumble on the Battle Mountain 1-yard line, and 3 seconds later Nielsen got his second touchdown of the game.
The Devils' defense continued to impose its will midway through the second quarter. Nielsen made it two Battle Mountain turnovers in as many plays with a pick, giving Eagle Valley the ball on the Huskies' 35. Aside from penalties, which Eagle Valley will have to clean up for the last two regular-season games, the Devils moved a will. Hart found the end zone and put Friday night's affair onto a running clock late in the first half.
Hart returned the ball to the Huskies' 30 to start the second half, and coach John Ramunno put in his younger kids on offense. They were equally efficient. Victor Avila had an 11-yard touchdown in the second half. New quarterback Rile Rowles called his own number for a 23-yard scamper.
Eagle Valley did keep its first-string defense in to preserve the shutout, so Nielsen's third pick of the night set up Avila's second TD of the night.
Battle Mountain (0-8) is at Moffat County next week.
Devils 14 28 14 6 - 62
Huskies 0 0 0 0 - 0
E - Jesus Garcia, 5 run, KG, 8:00
E - Cole Nielsen, 2 run, KG, 1:55
E - Rick Ramunno, 2 run. KG, 10:50
E - Jordon Hudspeth to Sam Boyd, 31 pass, KG, 5:55
E - Nielsen, 1 run, KG, 5:43
E - Ayren Hart, 2 run, KG, 2:05
E - Victor Avila, 11 run, KG, 9:28
E - Riley Rowles, 23 run, KG, 2:11
E - Avila, 1 run, KNG, 8:09