Devils deck Aspen, 59-6
GYPSUM – The Eagle Valley Devils were not a very happy football team as they came out under the lights of Hot Stuff Stadium Friday.
Coming off a frustrating 48-12 loss to No. 4 Roaring Fork last week, the Devils were more than just surly – they were downright hungry to get into it with somebody.
Enter 2-7 Aspen.
The overmatched Skiers got bullied around all night by the Devils, as Eagle Valley opened up its offense and clamped down on defense to walk away with a resounding 59-6 win.
Oh, don’t forget the smiles too.
“Its so humiliating to get beat like that,” said Devils running back Jerad Schlegel, referring to last week’s loss at Roaring Fork. “Last year, we were kind of on the other end of that. We did that to a lot of teams, so we know how it feels to win like that. But, when you get beat like that, you just want to curl up and die. So, we worked hard in practice this week and turned things around.”
Schlegel was the lead horse for the Devils offense, rushing for 116 yards on nine carries with one touchdown, as well as catching three balls for 45 yards.
It wasn’t just a one-man show, though, as five different Devils scored touchdowns, including three from senior running back Steve Evancho.
“We knew they weren’t that good. We just wanted to work on the little things,” said Evancho.
There wasn’t anything little about the Devils all night, other than the number of points they allowed the Skiers. Eagle Valley continued to break big play after big play, even after head coach John Ramunno had inserted his reserves in the third quarter with the Devils up, 38-0.
Schlegel led off the scoring for the night, after the Devils received the opening kickoff. Eagle Valley tromped 68 yards down the field behind first down runs of 11, 20 and 17 yards from Evancho and Schlegel, and a 12-yard run from fullback Tim Reitz before Schlegel popped into the end zone from one yard out with 9:55 remaining in the opening period.
After Aspen went three-and-out, the Devils payed another house visit to the end zone, this time on three straight passes from Devils quarterback Sean Bartlett. The senior quarterback hit passes to Evancho and Schlegel to move Eagle Valley to the Skiers’ 12-yard line, before hooking up with tight end Nathaniel Gallegos in the end zone for a 14-0 Devils lead.
“We wanted to come in and be well balanced tonight,” said Ramunno, whose team will open up the playoffs at home against Buena Vista next Saturday. “We want to be balanced against Buena Vista, because they are going to come up and stop our run. We are going to have to be able to throw the ball.”
Down 14-0, the Skiers managed to get a first down on their next possession, before they were forced to punt. The Devils were called for running into the kicker, though, on the punt and, so, the Skiers got another first down. Junior linebacker Ray Buttermore snubbed out any chance of another first down when he wrapped up Aspen’s Dusty Stutzman on a third-and-three from the Devils 33 to force another Skiers punt.
“[Aspen’s] offense is pretty much the same as Buena Vista’s, so if we shut them down, I think we can shut down Buena Vista,” said Evancho.
Ramunno agreed, stating that playing Aspen was a good warmup for his squad because the Skiers run a very parallel offense to Buena Vista.
“They run a lot of the same schemes as this team does. They are a little bigger, but they run a lot of power, they run some I, and they’ll run some option, just like Aspen,” said Ramunno. “We practiced our defense pretty well this week. We talked a lot about wrapping up on tackles. Last week, we missed some tackles that hurt us.”
After Reitz scored for the Devils on the ensuing possession, Evancho broke off the most impressive play of the night on a 66-yard scamper to put Eagle Valley up, 26-0.
Evancho started out on a sweep to the right, before cutting back all the way across the field at around the 45, then reversed his field again and streaked past a hapless Skiers secondary for the score.
Ray Buttermore and backup running back, David Hernandez, also scored touchdowns for the Eagles.
“We knew that they might not be the toughest team, based on their record,” said Schlegel. “Tonight, we wanted to work on every aspect of our game because with the playoffs coming up, we wanted to make sure everything is working right for us. We just wanted to make sure that it was a well-rounded game.”
Nate Peterson is sports writer for the Vail Daily. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext 608 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.