Devils-Huskies: The aftermath … |

Devils-Huskies: The aftermath …

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We interrupt our regularly-scheduled (and well-deserved) woofing after Eagle Valley’s 62-0 thrashing of Battle Mountain Friday night to give you a score.

Delta 26, Palisade 21.

That should get some attention in Eagle Valley’s camp as the Devils celebrate their first win over Battle Mountain since 2008. We’ve got a darn big game coming up in Gypsum Friday with Palisade coming to town for Senior Night.

If one works the laws of sports transitivity, Eagle Valley lost to Delta, 25-21, and you’ve got the Delta-Palisade score. Should be a good one with big implications. More on that later.

• OK, postgame reaction:

Eagle Valley coach John Ramunno: “It just shows our kids that things can change pretty quickly in a year. … All our kids really worked hard. You can tell they did a lot of things during the summer getting ready for football. That’s paying off. Last year, we were 1-7 (at this point of the season). Now we’re 7-1 and it’s a great feeling. We feel like we have a great shot to be in the playoffs. We’ve got a great big game looming with Palisade next week.”

Battle Mountain coach Steve Greve: “As a whole, we’re getting closer. We’re working through the hard times. They’re understanding what it takes to make the difference. They understand their roles better. They’ve been very flexible. They’re a good group of kids. They’re continually learning how to rely on their brother.”

Eagle Valley’s Cole Nielsen: “It feels really great. We deserved it.”

• Isn’t it interesting how Nielsen has two touchdowns and three interceptions in a game and we’re really not that surprised? That kid’s pretty good.

• Good gracious, the domination of both Eagle Valley lines … If John Madden were doing Friday’s game he would be still saying, “Boom.”

“Coach has been preaching, ‘Just come out low, come out strong,'” lineman Joey Sanchez said. “We came out and punched them in the face.'”

• Speaking of lineman, I’ve got no idea why I keep calling Eagle Valley’s No. 75, Tyler. Ty, Ty, Ty, Ty LaFramboise.

• You’re in good company, Ty: In a preview of last season’s Eagle Valley team, I accidentally had Rick Ramunno briefly on the web as “Rock Ramunno.” John Ramunno took a little bit of a shine to it, but Cindy Ramunno preferred Rick, and so it was changed.

That, however brings up the point of Dad’s pride of coaching his sons. And remember, the gentlemen of the Ramunno clan coach. John’s been at Eagle Valley for 30 years and counting. His brothers, Jay (Palisade and Colorado Mesa) and Tony (Lewis-Palmer) are head football coaches. The late patriarch of the family, Carl, was a legend with Steamboat Springs wrestling and also was an assistant in football.

“My dad always told me ‘You will get the biggest thrill when you see your son do something in athletics,'” John said. “I’ll tell you, when your kid makes a tackle – it doesn’t matter what he does – makes a tackle, runs the ball, makes a block, it sends chills up my spine. It’s cool. I know every parent who’s in the stands feels the same thing. That’s a great feeling.”

• OK, I thought Eagle Valley’s Roberto Cortez was signaling for a safety when he recovered a Battle Mountain fumble on the Huskies’ 1 yard-line. But our photographer Justin McCarty captured it perfectly. Cortez and the rest of the Devils were actually signaling an “A.”

“Alex is a little boy who I came to know. He has leukemia,” Eagle Valley’s Zeke Sandoval said. “He’s been following our team and he really bought into our team. He just makes us want to play for him that much more. We played every down for Alex tonight and that was for him. If you saw us putting up the little ‘A”‘ that was Alex.”

According to posts on Facebook, Alex is hoping to attend Friday’s Palisade-Eagle Valley game.

• Now before I start hearing it from the Battle Mountain faithful, yep, Friday was ugly, but, with apologies to Tom Hanks, there’s no crying in football. Last year was ugly as well with the Huskies winning, 54-0, and no one in Edwards was whining about running up the score.

No one in black and gold was complaining about how arrogant it was (and it was) for Battle Mountain to hop off the bus last year about 10-15 minutes before game time in Gypsum last year. I understand former Battle Mountain coach David Joyce’s principle about not wanting to warm up on your archrival’s turf. (Joyce said at the time that it was how his high school team, Van Buren, prepped for local rivalry games back in Arkansas.)

But don’t be surprised when your archrival does the same thing the next year at your place. Major props to Eagle Valley for having a sense of humor.

“It was what they did to us,” Cortez said. “Payback. Yeah, it felt good.”

While Cortez spoke about payback more politely than I would have, and kudos to him for his grace, the unfortunate nature of payback – there, that’s better – was the theme of Friday night.

Eagle Valley had its junior-varsity offense in for the whole second half. It’s not the Devils’ fault that Battle Mountain couldn’t tackle anyone. Guys like quarterback Riley Rowles – a third-stringer at the position – and running backs Buck Ortiz, Cristian Aguilar, Luis Chavez and Victor Avila are tackling dummies all week in practice. They see a hole, and they’re going to run.

Battle Mountain did the same darn thing last year with Eric Weiss and Paton Lovett running late in the game. And, no, I wouldn’t have called the two passes late in the fourth quarter, which Eagle Valley did. (Both were incomplete.) That said, Battle Mountain was still throwing the ball against Eagle Valley late last year.

Bottom line, Eagle Valley’s good and Battle Mountain is rebuilding and it showed. If you want teams to stop allegedly running up the score, do something about it yourself.

• And in answer to your next protest, “But Joyce isn’t coaching anymore, and this isn’t the same team as last year,” Eagle Valley understandably didn’t care. OK, everyone, both sides are even.

• So, Friday brings Palisade. Am I the only one getting flashbacks to 2005? The Devils were coming off a poor season (3-7 in 2004). The hope was 5-5. (The Vail Daily season preview was headlined, “Eagle Valley hopes to get back to .500.”) The team suffered a head-scratching loss in September, which eventually was referred to as a turning point. (It was a 7-6 defeat at the hands of Rifle in 2005). The 2005 Devils had 17 seniors. (I kid you not – the exact number of 2012.) The squad started looking better and better as the season went on …

And, Eagle Valley hosts Palisade late in the season. (It was Week 10 in 2005, as opposed to Week 9, and the Devils hammered the Bulldogs, 40-24.) Two of the players from the 2005 team are now coaches, Kylan Kottenstette and Sean Matheson.

And 2005 was the last time the Devils made the playoffs and won the 3A Slope? (I’d bet the Devils are in with seven wins on wild-card points, but I’m sure no one would object to eight or nine wins.)

“I believe in our kids. They’re going to be in every game this year. …,” Ramunno said. “Delta was a real defining game. We got down there. We were ahead, 21-6, at half, and we really hit a lull. I couldn’t get them out of it. We got together after that game and said, ‘We can’t let that happen again.’

“My gosh, we’ve been scoring a lot of points. Our defense has been playing outstanding. I’m so excited for these guys. They love to work hard. They show up every Monday. They don’t care what we do, running hills. We ran them in a circuit last Monday… past teams, those kids would have quit. These guys are, ‘Bring it on, Coach. Is that all you got?’ They are so fun to coach.”

We find out Friday.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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