Vail Christian football stuns West Grand, 12-6
Can we talk about RPI now?
West Grand football had won 25 Northwestern League 8-man football games in a row before Friday night.
The last time the Mustangs lost was Oct. 24, 2014, a 54-6 decision to Vail Christian in Kremmling. The Saints have now bookended that streak with a 12-6 win in Kremmling Friday night.
Whatever the Saints’ rating-percentage index is — and they were No. 1 going into Friday night’s game — they are now the team to beat in the Northwestern League which is what they can control now.
“I think both teams know each other well,” Saints coach Tim Pierson said. “We’ve been scheming this game out for a while. The kids went out and executed a pretty good game plan.”
As the score indicated, the Saints’ defense, after being lit up for 38 points per game last season, is back. Blue Crush was magnificent, holding an explosive West Grand squad to just one fourth-quarter touchdown.
That’s Slater O’Brien, Orion Adelman and Eddie Palacio up front. Coach Pierson could not say enough about how O’Brien was a force along the line.
Yes, Micah Sharpe moved back to linebacker with the Nowickis, Simon and Vinny. That moved Chris Cappel back to safety. The Sharpe and Cappel adjustments were a surprise for West Grand.
And while it didn’t light up the scoreboard, the offense was solid.
Jamison Lee to Andrew Stojkovich for 22 yards gave Vail Christian a 6-0 lead. A long Simon Nowicki run set up Lee to Cappel for a 5-yard score just before the half.
Keep West Grand off the field and the Mustangs have a harder time scoring. The Saints converted several clutch third downs to eat the clock during the second half. The Saints put in a fullback dive to Sharpe that was particularly effective.
And that left the Saints an exhausted but satisfied squad after the win. Vail Christian had been battling illnesses throughout the week before the game.
As for the RPI, coach Pierson knows his team looks at it but isn’t too excited about being No. 1 early in the season.
“It’s hard to gauge,” Pierson said. “We knew that these were going to be big games — West Grand and (last week against) Rangely back to back. It is what it is. Caliche and Dayspring Christian played each other this week and that will change the rankings. You can’t get hung up on it. This was a great Western Slope/Northwestern League game. We’ve just got to focus on getting better every week.”
To that end, the Saints return home next week to take on Hayden at Eagle Valley High School on Friday.
No snow? No problem. Athletes from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s Nordic ski racing program train on recreation paths all summer long.