Devils blowout Basalt for Homecoming
GYPSUM – Like a cheetah racing a moose, Eagle Valley football established control from the beginning of its Homecoming game against Basalt Friday night when Jared Schlegel returned the kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.
The Devils scored seven touchdowns with only eight first downs in the game to win, 49-14.
“It was a great win, and a lot of the kids got a piece of the action,” said Eagle Valley head coach John Ramunno. “Everyone worked hard all week long, and you want everyone to get a chance to participate in a homecoming game. So, we had the varsity play the first half, and the JV took the second.”
Devils C-back Steve Evancho led the running game with 6 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown.
“I think our team came together well,” said Evancho. “We showed everyone how tough we can play. But, we’ve got a road game next week against Gunnison, and then we go to Roaring Fork. So, we’ll be road warriors for the next two weeks.”
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Linebackers Charles Faulhaber and Tim Reitz led the Devils’ defense with 11 tackles apiece. Everisto Jara added 10 tackles.
“I thought the defense got tested a lot in goal-line and red-zone situations,” said Faulhaber. “But, I liked the way we stepped up. We had a few missed tackles, but we didn’t give up any points.”
After a stirring moment of silence for Skylar Hootman, who died in an auto accident during last year’s Homecoming, the Devils came out roaring in the first half, scoring 28 points, while shutting out Basalt.
Schlegel picked off Longhorns quarterback Cody Burkholder to end Basalt’s opening drive.
Basalt’s Michael McDonnell returned the favor a couple of plays later by intercepting Devils quarterback Sean Bartlett’s bomb, intended for Evancho. The interception was due, in part, to a collision among Devils’ receivers.
McDonnell returned the pick to the Devils’ 37-yard line.
After a Longhorn-first down, the Devils put up a stand, forcing Basalt to a decision on fourth-and-three.
The Longhorns went for it, and the referee literally had to get down on his hands and knees to find that Basalt was centimeters short.
Basalt’s Burkholder picked off Bartlett’s pass on third-and-seven.
Basalt went four-and-out, on its next possession, after a huge sack from Devils defensive tackle Luis Landeros.
After a nice return from Evancho, Bartlett took a quarterback keeper 19 yards. Evancho ran the next play for 34 yards. And, Schlegel capped off the drive with a touchdown run from Basalt’s 10-yard line.
Basalt fumbled on its next drive to Devils defensive back Sean Matheson.
Eagle Valley drove the ball down to Basalt’s 5-yard line, and Bartlett ran it in to put the Devils up, 21-0.
The Devils went scoreless for a few minutes before Bartlett hooked up with Devils A-back Brad Gamble for a 52-yard touchdown.
On Basalt’s next drive, Burkholder connected with McDonnell, on a 36-yard pass, to take the Longhorns deep into Devils’ territory.
Schlegel planted a touchdown-saving tackle on Longhorns tailback Clayton Peetz, when Basalt went for it on fourth-and-eight toward the end of the first half.
“Basalt seems down. They’ve had some injuries, lost their quarterback at the beginning of the season,” said Ramunno.
Gamble was perfect on all four of his first-half, extra-point attempts.
At half time, perhaps the biggest cheers from the high-school section of the crowd came as the 2003 Eagle Valley Homecoming Royalty. Congratulations to Homecoming Queen Brenda Torres and Homecoming King Luis Landeros.
The Longhorns fumbled on the opening drive of the second half, and Evancho capped off the Devils drive with a 13-yard touchdown run.
Basalt’s third fumble of the game came on the first play of their next possession, and Devils fullback Reitz took the Devils into the end zone from 18 yards out.
Basalt answered for the first time on the next drive with a 3-yard, touchdown run by Burkholder.
Devils back-up quarterback Alex Gamble tossed a 54-yarder to Matheson for the Devils seventh touchdown of the evening.
Devils Cody Comerford hit the extra point.
The Longhorns answered again with a touchdown run from Burkholder, which would end up being the last score of the game.
The Devils improved their overall record to 5-1, and boosted their perfect league record to 4-0.
Eagle Valley travels to Gunnison Friday for another league game at 7 p.m.
Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 608, or at email@example.com.