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Are you ready for some football?

Daily Staff Report
Ian Cropp
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The Eagle Valley Devils are playing football like it should be played – deep into November. They’ve played well all season, but more importantly, they’ve played with class. Opposing coaches talk about how they have great respect for Eagle Valley football and coach John Ramunno.From the starting lineup to the freshman who are sticking around for the experience, the Devils come out to play for several reasons. They love the sport, enjoy each other’s company and respect their coaches.And, as coach Ramunno has often noted, “It’s great to be a Devil.”Stay at home

Call me crazy, but I think the Devils should be playing today’s game at Hot Stuff Stadium. When you rack up a 9-1 record, win your league and have a No. 1 seed playoffs, you shouldn’t have to go on the road to play a team two seeds lower than you.The Colorado High School Activities Association changed the playoff setup a few years ago, in order to cut down on travel costs. This does make sense, but at the same time, there should be a reward for good play during the regular season.If Montezuma-Cortez were to play Kit Carson, then maybe they could meet halfway. But for the life of me, I can’t make any sense as to why Eagle Valley should have to travel to Steamboat Springs.During the regular season, the Devils went on the road for six games, while the Sailors only left Steamboat Springs three times. Not even considering the superior condition of the grass at Hot Stuff Stadium, the Devils shouldn’t have to make yet another road trip.Sorry CHSAA, but you lose my vote on this issue. In the future, why not take the playoff games on a case-by-case basis?Take the tripDon’t be surprised to hear the crowd cheering just as loud for the Devils as for the Sailors in today’s game. The Devils have a great following at their high school, as well in the Valley.

This past week, Eagle Valley alumni, faculty, parents and even community members have sent notes of encouragement to the team. At practice on Thursday, Ramunno read some of the notes to his squad.The Britt family, whose son Will plays center and defensive line, wrote to thank the Devils for providing them with immense joy in a time of sorrow. Recently, Will’s grandmother passed away.”You put your heart and soul into every game,” the letter said. “It really shows that you guys care about each other. We can honestly say that the Eagle Valley football team has given us a real gift – the gift of life lived at its fullest.”From rival high school Battle Mountain came the well wishes of soccer coach David Cope.”We are supporting you here at Battle Mountain and would love to see you guys continue the run,” Cope wrote. “You are doing great things for kids, and the community is excited about your team. I’d love to watch some more Devils football in the snow at Hot Stuff Stadium. Keep it up and rolling through Thanksgiving.”And one note came from a big fan of the Devils, Pastor Winsor Stough of Eagle Valley Community Church.”You have all of our attention,” Stough wrote. “I’ll be traveling to Gulfport, Mississippi this Saturday with a team of folks helping out with Katrina relief, but we’ll all be checking the Web for results. We know we’ll see a blow-out. Don’t hold anything back this week. That goes for you, too, coach Ramunno. Looking for a state championship in three weeks.”



Big JohnSteamboat Springs is familiar territory for Ramunno. His father, Karl, coached football for 18 years and wrestling for 32 years, while winning six state wrestling championships in a row.John played football at Steamboat Springs, then came back to student teach and help coach the football team. As an assistant coach, John helped guide his brother Joe, along with the rest of the team, to a state championship in 1979.His players are well aware of the importance of today’s game in terms of this season but know that it means a little more for Ramunno.”He wants this game more than anyone,” said Cody Comerford. “But we are the ones that have to do it for him.”If the Devils do what they’ve done all season, Ramunno should come back home to Gypsum a happy guy. And if he’s happy Saturday, a lot more people will be, too.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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