And then there were fourThe Eagle Valley football team finds itself in the final four of the state 2A playoffs after braving a seemingly endless bus ride, horrible weather and a football field more suited for hockey Nov. 9. The Devils survived last Saturday’s playoff game against at Pagosa Springs 10-0.The game was marred by 12 turnovers – six by each team – and was played on a field that had taken nearly a foot of snow the day before and a persistent rain storm the day of the game. It was the Devils version of “the frozen tundra” game at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field.Nevertheless, the Devils overcame three of their six turnovers inside the Pagosa Springs 5-yard line and relied on their defense to shut Pagosa down at every turn.”They couldn’t make cuts or run their option,” said Eagle Valley head coach John Ramunno. “Our defense was pretty solid. Pagosa Springs didn’t come close.”Eagle Valley’s defense was led by junior linebacker Sean Bartlett, who had 14 tackles in the game.”We’ve played two playoff games in the mud,” Bartlett says. “The (muddy conditions) help us and allows our defense to step up.”Next up for Eagle Valley is perennial power Eaton.Like Eagle Valley, Eaton is undefeated and ranked in the top three in state. Unlike Eagle Valley, Eaton was only 14 seconds away from a state title last year.”They’re a lot tougher team than we’ve been playing,” Bartlett says. “We’re going to have to play our best game.”Also coming into play is the Western Slope question. Historically, Front Range teams have a decided advantage over Western Slope teams regardless of classification. The Devils will travel on another long road trip this Saturday, Nov. 16.The key question for Eagle Valley is whether the Devils’ speed and misdirection on offense can overcome the size of Eaton.”We have to concentrate on not making any mental mistakes,” Ramunno said. “Our guys can play a better game than we’ve played all season, and I want to see us all come together as a team.”Kickoff at Eaton is scheduled for 1 p.m.Spikers get spikedIn volleyball, it wasn’t a very good trip to Denver for the local teams last weekend. The Vail Mountain School Gore Rangers were undefeated and ranked first going into the state 1A playoffs last weekend. The Gore Rangers lost all three of their matches last Friday, Nov. 8, against Caliche, Otis and Karval. It was a similar story in the 3A state playoffs for Eagle Valley. The Devils lost matches to Middle Park, Colorado Springs Christian and Weld Central.Wrestlers pin down national honorsGypsum wrestlers Chris Harvey, Damien Montes and James Harvey excelled on a national stage er, mat recently. Chris Harvey, 15, and Montes, 8, won their divisions of the Monster Match National Wrestling tournament in Denver during the weekend of Nov. 2. James Harvey, 11, placed second in his division, losing only to the eventual national champion.The elder Harvey pinned each of his opponents en route to his fourth national championship, while Montes garnered his first ever national honor.The tournament, which hosted more than 1,700 wrestlers, was a highlight for the wrestlers from the Bald Eagle Wrestling Club and the Colorado Bad Boys traveling team. All three will be capping off their seasons at the World Championships in Reno, Nev., in April.– John Knauf
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