Devils football extra
GYPSUM – Thirty years on the sidelines and there’s still no place John Ramunno would rather be.
Even on nights like Friday.
Eagle Valley’s Ramunno opened his 30th season as the Devils head coach against Coal Ridge.
The Titans rolled to a 28-0 win in the season opener.
Ramunno still hates to lose, make no mistake about it, but he remains gracious in both victory and defeat.
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He had high praise for Coal Ridge.
“They’re a good team and they’ll win a lot of games,” Ramunno said. “They have good size, good speed and they don’t beat themselves with mistakes.”
The game was nearly a repeat of last year’s score when Coal Ridge won 27-0.
Eagle Valley was young last year and still is. The Devils have six seniors on their roster.
“We have a lot of juniors and they’re gaining varsity experience,” Ramunno said.
The Devils had all the usual opening day things to contend with, but Ramunno’s confident that they’ll be just fine.
“This is a group that works hard,” Ramunno said. “They lifted hard all summer and they understand that if they work hard they’ll be able to rally it up next week against Summit.”
Eagle Valley’s defense stopped Coal Ridge more than a dozen times for big losses. On Coal Ridge’s first series on fourth and three the Titans rolled the dice and Devils tackle Joey Sanchez made them come up snake eyes, stopping Coal Ridge for a loss.
With 4:49 left in the first quarter, Coal Ridge put together its first touchdown drive. Quarterback Robby Moore sold a play-action fake that pulled the middle of the Eagle Valley defense into the middle. Moore rolled left and lateralled back to Cody Walls who broke one tackle and was long gone up the left sideline.
The 58 yard run and point after put Coal Ridge up 7-0.
Coal Ridge went back to work at the Eagle Valley 32 early in the second quarter. Moore kept it over the right side for 10 yards, found Walls on the left side down to the seven, and Brent Hazzard was good for three more.
On second and goal from the four, Cameron Cotton strolled through a huge hole right up the middle and into the end zone for a 14-0 Coal Ridge lead.
With 7:39 left in the first half, Moore went back to work and found Walls for a 17 yard pass and catch. On the next play, Moore hit Brown to move the Titans all the way to the Eagle Valley 30.
Cotton carried down to the Devils 11 for another Titans first down. Moore found Walls for a six yard pass over the right side, and Cotton powered into the end zone for the touchdown and a 21-0 Coal Ridge lead.
Zeke Sandoval put Eagle Valley business with a dandy return to the 44. Rick Ramunno powered out to the 49, then pounded out six more yards for a first down at the Coal Ridge 45.
Ramunno turned up big on the other side of the ball with a six-yard sack on the Titans’ first play on the ensuing series.
Coal Ridge’s Walls opened the second half with an interception and returned it deep into Eagle valley territory. Two plays later Moore found Brown deep in the corner of the end zone for a 28-0 Titan lead.
Midway through the third quarter Eagle Valley’s defense clamped down and the offense started to gel.
Five times the Devils stopped Coal Ridge for losses in the third quarter. Eagle Valley’s big defensive plays continued as the clock wound down and the Devils’ offense picked up. They ended the game with a nifty pass completion from quarterback Jordan Hudspeth to Ramunno on a sideline route.
In that third quarter, Eagle Valley started running some misdirection plays and throwing to the flat.
Their passing game will come in time, and time is what junior quarterback Jordan Hudspeth needs.
“When he has time he throws a really good ball,” Ramunno said.
Eagle Valley travels to Summit County next week.