Dayspring finishes Vail Christian’s season
Vail Christian football
Saints 0 0 0 0 — 0
Eagles 7 14 7 14 — 42
D — Kylar Mai, 3 run, KG, 4:32
D — John Magruder to Caleb Urwiller, 46 pass, KNG, 11:47
D — Magruder to Urwiller, 30 pass, run failed, 7:58
D — Safety, 0:11
D — Christian Hershberger, 85 KO return, KG, 11:43
D — Mai, 45 run, KG, 11:41
D — Nathan Crawford, 9 run, KG, 8:42
GREELEY — Dayspring Christian made believers of Vail Christian’s in the Eagles’ quest to repeat as Colorado’s 8-man football state champion.
No. 1-seeded Dayspring Christian left no doubt against the No. 8 Saints in a 42-0 win on Saturday at Brazelton Field in Greeley during the state quarterfinals.
The Eagles head to Granada next week in the semifinals, while Simla at Caliche round out the Final Four. The Saints finished the best season in school history with a 10-1 record.
“Dayspring is an outstanding team,” Vail Christian coach Tim Pierson said. “They’re well-coached. They’re disciplined. That’s the reason why they’re the best team in the state.”
Dayspring (12-0) dominated the line of scrimmage, particularly during the first half while building a 21-0 lead, dictating play on both sides of the ball.
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“I usually stand where the line of scrimmage is whether we’re on offense or defense, and you could just see us move the line back,” Eagles coach Mick Holmes said.
Dayspring started the day with a 49-yard drive. The Saints made their stand on their own 3 with Alex Davis and Sug Ellsworth dumping Kylar Mai twice for a loss. Dayspring quarterback John Magruder hit Mai for a 3-yard pass, setting up fourth down. The Eagles went for it on fourth-and-goal with Mai scoring the first touchdown of the day.
The Saints tried to get something going offensively with a nifty fake punt, converted by Max Schramm. Vail Christian turned the ball over on downs and the Eagles went to the air.
“This is part of our game plan every week,” Homes said. “We’ll pound it at you and then try spread the ball out a bit. If you’re one-dimensional at this stage of the ball game, it’s hard to be successful.”
Magruder started the second quarter with a 46-yard strike to Caleb Urweiller for a 13-0 lead. The Eagles used that combination again with 7:58 left in the half, this time for 30 yards.
“He ran crisp routes and he got open when we need it open,” Magruder said.
Down 18-0, the Saints went for it on fourth-and-7 from their 47 yards. Mike Lange’s pass was complete to Schramm for five yards, and Schramm appeared to get his left leg twisted underneath him during the tackle. Schramm gamely returned in the third quarter, but eventually had to leave the game. (Alex Davis also appeared to take a knock, and also returned.)
Vail Christian made a valiant defense stand, capped by an interception by Saints junior Logan Raitt.
The Saints were stuck deep in their own territory and surrendered a safety with a punt snap that went through the end zone, going into the break down, 21-0.
Good season, nonetheless
Having been down by two touchdowns in last week’s first-round game against Merino, Vail Christian felt it could make a second-half run. The Eagles’ Christian Hershberger squelched that notion by returning the kickoff 85 yards to the house to start the third quarter.
Despite the hole, the Saints kept fighting.
“Tim coaches these guys up,” Holmes said. “He does a great job. They’ve got some people on their team (Sug Ellsworth, Max Schramm, Alex Davis), they’re studs.”
“Huge character,” Ellsworth said. “We preach, ‘No regrets, never give up,’ all year. It pays off in the game. You don’t want to quit.”
Of course, there were tears at the end. One of the reasons the loss hurt was because of how far Vail Christian came in 2014.
“Football reveals character and this season we saw a lot from our kids,” Pierson said. “I’m proud of them. The seniors, I’ve coached them for four years, and watching them grow has been a great journey. That’s what it’s all about. Win or lose, it’s life lessons and I’m proud of them and excited for them. They had a great season.”