Devils dismantle Pirates in first half |

Devils dismantle Pirates in first half

Ian Cropp

OLATHE – If knowing is half the battle, then playing against Eagle Valley football must be one heck of a fight.For the past three weeks, the Devils have run the same play on their first offensive snap of the game. The past two weeks, Sean Matheson ran the ball in for a touchdown. In Friday’s 39-20 win over 2A Olathe, Matheson went 56 yards on Eagle Valley’s opening play.”That first play has been working pretty well for us,” said Eagle Valley coach John Ramunno. “It’s a reach play. Nolan Schwan does a good job blocking, and we pull Maurice Mitchell and Kylan Kottenstette over.”The Devils needed only three more plays to march into the Olathe end zone. Mike Medsker capped off the minute-and-a-half drive with his first of two touchdown rushes.By the end of the first quarter, the Devils had scored two more touchdowns, one on a Cody Comerford run, and another on a screen pass to Chris Harvey.In the second quarter, the Devils rushed the ball in for another two scores. Medsker ran 8 yards to put Eagle Valley up 26-0, and at the end of the half, Mason Ewing brought the score to 33-6, on a 14-yard screen reception.”Mason had a great game,” Ramunno said. “He scored two touchdowns, had nine tackles, four unassisted tackles and had an incredible hit on a kickoff.”Mitchell, who sat out most of last week’s game against Battle Mountain with an injury, led the Devils with 10 tackles Friday.Much like against Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley didn’t hold the ball much on offense. The longest drive for the Devils in the first half was 2:14.One and outAfter the first half all but decided the game, Eagle Valley scored early in the second half, then slowed down its pace.”We kind of went into a lull,” Ramunno said. “It’s hard when you get up 33-6 at half. You are set to play a lot of kids in the second half, and we are not into running up the score.”Ewing had his second touchdown of the game on a 4-yard run, and then late in the fourth quarter the Pirates scored two touchdowns.The final Olathe touchdown came after the Pirates recovered an onside kick.”Our guys were just standing there,” Ramunno said.Discounting the powerful kick and punt return teams, Eagle Valley has had trouble this year on special teams. Between allowing onside kicks, and missing PATs, Ramunno feels the Devils need to shore up this part of their game.”We’ll kick one PAT and it will look great, but the next one will be no good,” Ramunno said.And there’s one more thing Ramunno hopes to emphasize for next week.”Our tackling needs to improve,” he said.The Devils had a fumble in the second half, but recovered it in the first half to go even in turnovers on the game.Ground, road warriorsEagle Valley racked up close to 450 yards on the ground. Matheson led the Devils with 142 yards on eight carries.Medsker took the ball nine times for 81 yards, and went 4-for-8 for 75 yards in the air.”A lot of those (incompletions) were in kids’ hands,” Ramunno said. “When our quarterback puts it there, you need to catch it.”Rounding out the rushing attack were Comerford with 80 yards, Harvey with 48 yards and Ewing with 19 yards.”One thing that helps us is we have a lot of different kids running the ball,” Ramunno said.The win at Olathe was the second game in which the Devils had to travel more than three hours and exploded offensively in the first half.”We have to be road warriors this year,” Ramunno said. “With six road games, we have to come away with some wins to make the playoffs.”Friday, Eagle Valley will travel to Steamboat Springs to face the Sailors.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or, Colorado

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