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Can’t break these backs

Andrew Harley
Vail Daily/Bret Hartman
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GYPSUM – Like a European soccer crowd all hopped up on Red Bull, the Eagle Valley offensive backfield has proven itself to be quite volatile.

Devils quarterback Sean Bartlett, A-backs Jared Schlegel and Brad Gamble, B-backs Tim Reitz, Chris Harvey and Chris Best and C-backs Steve Evancho and Raymond Buttermore, have set a trend of coming out strong at the beginning of halves, outscoring league opponents, 32-0, in first quarters, and, 39-0, in third quarters.

“With this offense, we can hone in on three kids, who can carry the ball,” said Eagle Valley head coach John Ramunno. “Our offensive line’s been getting a lot better, so that has helped create the holes our backfield needs.”



Of the four, senior starters, Bartlett, Schlegel, Reitz and Evancho, Reitz is the only one who started last year.

“Tim’s been really solid this year,” said Ramunno. “He has almost 70 yards a game. He has great patience with the trap play; he reads the defense well.”

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Schlegel and Evancho have seen the double-wing formation since they were freshman, and have put in their time by backing up J.J. Alvis and Craig Jagger last year.

“Stevie hits a hole quick, and almost always makes a good cutback,” said Ramunno.

Schlegel leads the team with 610 rushing yards, including a career game last week at Hotchkiss, where he ran for 210 yards on 18 carries.



“Jared has the ability to make the first defender miss. When we watch him on film, he always gets past at least the first would-be tackler,” said Ramunno.

Bartlett is the general on the field, and has led the Devils to a 3-0 league record and a 4-1 overall record.

“Our option play has been coming along. We ran one against Hotchkiss that was picture-perfect,” said Ramunno. “Sean’s a good leader. He steps into the huddle and takes charge. He’s really competitive; loves to win. And, when the game’s on the line, I’m glad he’s our quarterback.”

The Devils have been successful so far this year, despite the loss of four players to moving and injuries. All four of them were at least six-feet tall, and weighed more than 200 pounds.

However, due to the nature of the Devils’ gameplan, they have always been able to prepare and get the necessary game experience for a slew of other players.

“We used to run an I-formation with one tailback, instead of two wing backs,” said Ramunno. “We switched to the A-,B- and C-back system, and have been 18-1 in league play since the switch.”

The Devils face Basalt today at 7 p.m., for Homecoming.

“We need a lot of things to improve in this game,” said Ramunno. “We had three turnovers last week, and we need to eliminate our penalties. I’d also like to see the punt-return team to improve this game. A good return is key to putting points on the board. Stevie Evancho’s our punt-return guy, so, if he’s healthy, we should be able to hurt them with our returns.”

Andrew Harley can be contacted at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at aharley@vaildaily.com.


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