Eagle Valley opens up in second half to win, 41-22 | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley opens up in second half to win, 41-22

Ian Cropp

BAYFIELD – A long bus ride couldn’t slow down the Devils.Neither could the Bayfield Wolverines.Coming off a 14-7 halftime lead, the Devils amassed 27 points in the second half to run over Bayfield, 41-22.”It was a great way to start the season,” said Devils coach John Ramunno. “The kids shook off a bus ride of 300 miles.”The Devils opened the scoring, going up 6-0 on a touchdown and missed extra point. A Eagle Valley fumble gave Bayfield great field position, which led to a touchdown. The Devils regained the lead before halftime on a Chris Harvey screen pass, which was the team’s only completion of the night. Sean Matheson rushed in for the conversion to bring the lead to 14-6.”We had some passes open, but completed only one,” Ramunno said. “We will have to work on shoring up our passing game because there are going to be times we need to complete things.”Aside from the touchdown pass, all of the Devils offense came from the run. Between Kenny Slaughter, Harvey, Matheson, and Mason Ewing, the Devils gained 389 yards on the ground. Matheson racked up 172 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Harvey had two rushing touchdowns in addition to his one passing touchdown.The second half was an offensive display for the Devils.”They came together in groups at halftime and were positive about what we had to do in the second half,” Ramunno said. “On first down, we were getting eight yards, so we went with that, and we concentrated on not making mistakes, and not committing penalties.”True to their plan, the Devils only had three penalties all game, with two clippings and one offsides.”Not too bad for your first game,” Ramunno said. “Last year in the first game, we had 10 or 12.”While Eagle Valley ran like a well-oiled machine, Bayfield’s run machine was stalled by the cogs that were the Devils defensive backs and linebackers.”We came up hard with run support,” Ramunno said. “(Bayfield) tried to establish the run on us, but our senior defensive backs stepped up.”With strong defensive performances were seniors Slaughter, Cody Comerford and Ewing. Sophomore Nick Whitehead stepped into the game due to an injury and contributed to the run defense.”He’s got great foot speed and a nose for the ball,” Ramunno said of Whitehead.Bayfield gained several first downs on the ground.”We were giving up some yards on dive plays, so we’ll have to work on that,” Ramunno said.Ramunno also said his team missed several tackles, and will need to work on that this week.Eagle Valley used two kickers for the game, Will Britt and Jason Morales.”We feel fortunate we have two kids with pretty good legs,” Ramunno said. “They missed a couple PATs tonight, but it’s not too bad.”The road win puts the team in the right direction, Ramunno said.”I liked their attitude and how they worked well together,” Ramunno said. “It was a great team victory.”Sports writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608 or via icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado