Devils overcome Cedaredge, lightning delay
Vail, CO Colorado
CEDAREDGE – If you saw a bus floating over Gypsum early Saturday morning, you don’t need to go to the looney-bin.
“I think our bus floated home,” Eagle Valley football coach John Ramunno said after the Devils downed Cedaredge, 32-6, Friday night in their season opener. “We didn’t get home until 3 a.m., but we were floating.”
Winning an opener is big for any team in any sport. A team spends all summer gearing up for it – in Eagle Valley football’s case, there were football camps, countless 7-on-7 sessions and more time in the weight room this summer. Then, throw in the fact the Devils have not experienced much success recently – this was their first opening win since 2007, a 20-7 victory over Summit County at Hot Stuff Stadium.
This was huge, and Eagle Valley hopes it’s the start of something larger.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” said senior running back Zeke Sandoval, who led the Devils in rushing Friday night. “I’m so proud of my team. I’m proud of the work we did during the summer. It feels great to get that result.”
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And Eagle Valley got the win under difficult conditions. Leading 19-0 with about 8 minutes left in the first half, the Devils had a 1-hour lightning delay. Eagle Valley and Cedaredge went back to their locker rooms, came out and played the final 8 minutes of the half, and then still had to wait out a seemingly-gratuitous 10-minute half time on top of that.
“Our warm-ups are really good now,” Ramunno joked.
All involved at Eagle Valley can joke about it now, but this was a new twist. (For perspective, Ramunno, who’s now in his fourth decade of leading the Devils, says he remembers a game against Meeker many years ago being pushed back 15 minutes by lightning, but nothing like Friday night.)
The Devils came out firing on offense – running backs Rick Ramunno, Cole Nielson, and Sandoval combined for 35 yards on their first three touches with Ramunno plunging in later in the drive from 1 yard out for a 7-0 lead.
In that second quarter, Eagle Valley added two more scores with a Nielson 7-yard run and a sweet 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jordon Hudspeth to Ayren Hart.
And then everything stopped.
The Devils broke off into offensive meetings, defensive ones and went over special teams. The room was hot so all the Devils were taking off their pads and guzzling Gatorade and juice. Coaches were hitting their cellphones to track the weather system, so that they could figure out when everyone was starting playing. John Ramunno even said he had the team talk about Monday’s practice just to keep everyone focused on football.
Eagle Valley understandably struggled to regain its momentum after the hour delay and, for good measure, halftime, after that. Appropriately, it was the defense that provided the jump start.
Senior cornerback Juan Calvo picked off a Bruins pass, and Nielson got his second score of the evening. Hart followed that up with a highlight reel 11-yard run, busting tackles on his way.
Defensive heroes abounded for Eagle Valley. Lineman Andy Armstrong, linebacker Cody Thurston and Nielson, who plays in the secondary on defense, had nine tackles each for some nice distribution. Defensive-end Sam Boyd had two sacks. All in all, it was a very good debut for that unit under new coordinator Kylan Kottenstette, Class of 2006 at Eagle Valley.
The highlight of the night was when sophomore Ryan Monica snagged an interception on his first varsity play.
“I was proud of him,” Calvo said. “He’s been asking me in practice al the time, ‘What can I do to make myself better?’ When he caught that ball, I was so proud.”
Eagle Valley has its home opener Friday at 7 p.m. against Steamboat Springs at Hot Stuff Stadium.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3A Slope football
Eagle Valley 32, Cedaredge 6
D’Evelyn 58, Battle Mountain 7
Conifer 42, Glenwood Springs 19
Steamboat Springs at Eagle Valley, 7 p.m.
Battle Mountain at Summit County, 7 p.m.
Central at Palisade, 7 p.m.
Montezuma-Cortez at Cedaredge, 7 p.m.
Rifle at Coal Ridge, 7 p.m
Delta at Gunnison, 7 p.m.
Ridgeview Academy at Moffat County, noon