Delta too much for Eagle Valley |

Delta too much for Eagle Valley

GYPSUM, Colorado – Despite solid defense for much of the game, Eagle Valley struggled offensively and was plagued by turnovers in a 28-0 loss to Delta on Friday.

Delta quarterback Austin Watson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the win.

“We came out after the half and established a little bit of the passing game,” said Delta head coach Ben Johnson. “We made a bunch of mistakes in the first half and got the passing game going a little bit so they couldn’t load the box up and stop the run.”

At halftime, the Devils were within striking distance, trailing the Panthers 7-0. The tough Eagle Valley defense allowed just four first downs in the first half.

“Our kids gave a solid effort,” said Eagle Valley coach John Ramunno. “Defensively, I think we played pretty hard tonight.”

Eagle Valley had its chances offensively, too, recovering from two interceptions by the Delta defense on the Devils’ first two drives. Eagle Valley advanced deep into Delta territory three times in the half.

In the first quarter, led by strong running from backs Clayton Gerard and Matt Kottenstette, the Devils advanced from their own 15-yard line down to the Delta 29, but turned the ball over on a fourth-down fumble. Gerard was making his debut as a back, and Kottenstette was returning from a kidney injury that had him sidelined since the season-opener against Faith Christian.

In the second quarter, after a great Eagle Valley punt pushed Delta to its own 2-yard line, the Devils got the ball back on Delta’s 28-yard line. But the drive failed to materialize.

Delta came out strong in the second half, putting the ball repeatedly in the hands of its big, 215-pound running back, Michael Patton. A fumble inside the Devils’ 20 by Watson was nearly recovered by a Devils’ defender, but the Panthers managed to keep the ball. On the next play, Patton rumbled into the end zone for an eight-yard scoring run.

Delta’s passing game got going later in the third quarter. Watson threw a short pass to receive Chad Cromwell, who scampered down the sideline, turning backwards to deflect the attempted tackles of Eagle Valley defenders.

“We came out flat at the beginning of the game,” Watson said. “In the second half, we came out to play.”

On Delta’s next possession, Watson connected on a 25-yard pass to start off the drive. A few plays later, he hit tight end Ernie Baier for a 25-yard TD.

“We knew they were going to bring the blitz, so we beat them on the dump pass,” Watson. “They were expecting the run, so we countered their play.”

Later in the fourth quarter, a snap sailed over quarterback Nick Pietrack’s head for a safety. The Eagle Valley quarterback ended up with four interceptions in the game.

“Going in (to the locker room at the half) 7-0, that wasn’t bad,” Ramunno said. “We just need to find some things offensively. We just have a hard time sustaining drives. Too many turnovers. You can’t really win when you give a team that many more chances with the ball.”

Eagle Valley falls to 0-7 overall and 0-5 in the 3A Slope. Next week’s opponent is Montezuma-Cortez on the road.

Delta is now 5-2 overall and 4-2 in conference play.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or

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