Devils run over No. 5 Bulldogs
GYPSUM How nice it was to come home. After two games on the road, the Devils returned to Hot Stuff stadium Friday night and dominated the No. 5 ranked Moffat County Bulldogs, 27-19. After three quarters, Eagle Valley had all but ended the game, with a commanding 27-0 lead. Three of the four Devils touchdowns came with a jump start from the Bulldogs in the form of turnovers. The Bulldogs turned over the ball all night, with three fumbles, one interception and six turnovers on downs.”Turnovers were huge,” said Eagle Valley coach John Ramunno. “Last year we gave them the ball eight times, so that kind of evens it out.”The Devils wasted no time in punishing the Bulldogs for their first mistake. On Moffat County’s opening dri ve, the Bulldogs gambled and went for it on fourth and two. The Devils defense stuffed the run, and took over on the Bulldog’s 37 – yard line.On the next play, quarterback Mike Medsker pitched the ball to Sean Matheson, who ran to the right, then shifted to the left and then bolted into the end zone untouched.”It was jammed up on the right, and I saw one of my blockers hit their ends, and it looked open on the other side,” Matheson said.Solid runs helped the Devils control the clock, and score four touchdowns in the process.”We have some hard – running running backs,” Ramunno said “Give them a hole, and they’ll get through there and get some positive yards. And I love their second efforts.”Five different Devils ran the ball 45 times for a total of 233 yards. Matheson led the team with 112 yards on 11 carries, and scored three touchdowns.
“We had a lot of open holes, and I followed the blockers,” Matheson said. Medsker had three key runs of over ten yards for first downs.”The offensive line rarely gets credit, but they had a great game,” Medsker said. Dominant playOn both sides of the ball, the Devils controlled the tempo against a highly – touted Moffat squad. In the first three quarters, Moffat County only crossed midfield three times.”That was a good football team we beat tonight,” Ramunno said. “They were ranked fifth, if rankings mean anything.” Moffat ran the option on offense, but quarterback Derek Duran had few options for targets all night, as the Devils secondary covered well. “I thought our defensive coaches put together a really good scheme with a prevent look,” Ramunno said. “We let them throw a bit, but didn’t give them the big one.”Late in the forth quarter, however, the Bulldogs caught the Devils on their heels and used an 84 – yard pass to set up a touchdown. After the Bulldogs scored their second touchdown, they recovered an onsides kick with less than four minutes to play. Moffat scored again with no time remaining to close the gap to 27 – 19
A game and year apartThe result was a far cry from last year’s game in which Moffat pummeled Eagle Valley 60-6 in Craig.”We came off the bus thinking we were going to waltz in for a big win,” said Moffat defensive coordinator Lance Scranton.Throughout the night, Moffat head coach Kip Hafey made bold decisions with his offense. Hafey went for it on forth down nine times, and did not send out his punter all night. Moffat only converted on three of the nine fourth down attempts.”I think he was pretty confident,” Ramunno said of Hafey. “He was down in his territory and went for it, and it blew up in his face.”Any time the Bulldogs put a foot in the wrong direction, the Devils were there to respond.”Eagle Valley capitalized on turnovers,” Hafey said. “When there was a quick change (of possession) we didn’t rise to the occasion and they did several times.”Late in the first quarter the Bulldogs had a chance to tie the game. On the first Eagle Valley pass of the game, the ball bounced off a Devil, and ended up in the hands of Moffat’s Andrew Drake. On the next play, a bad snap led to a Moffat fumble, and the Devils marched down the field to take a 14 – 0 lead. High gravity at Hot Stuff
As can be expected out of a Ramunno offense, the Devils passed sparingly. Medsker went 4 of 14 for 89 yards, with two long screen passes to Chris Harvey that kept drives alive.The offense was more efficient than last week’s 7-6 loss against Rifle, when the Devils ran well, but only scored six points. Ramunno was pleased with Medsker’s performance, both running and passing, and with the way the entire team played.”I told them that the true character of a team comes after a loss,” Ramunno said.”We made some mistakes last week, but this week our kids stepped up to the plate and played from within.”Medsker couldn’t have been happier with the way the team played either.”It was huge; we got all of our confidence back.” Even with the lead late in the game, the Devils kept pushing. After Moffat’s second touchdown, the Devils blocked an extra point attempt, much to the pleasure of the home crowd. Next week the Devils will have to work off a long drive to Cortez before they get on the field. Ramunno hopes the Devils play with the same passion on the road as they did at home.”If we continue to show up week-to-week, we’ll have a good season,” Ramunno said. Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555 ext 608, or at :firstname.lastname@example.orgVail Colorado