Devils roll past Huskies, 37-7
GYPSUM – Last year, the Eagle Valley football team consumed 500 tacos before its game with Battle Mountain.
This year, the Devils only downed 400.
A cause for concern?
Eagle Valley walked all over Battle Mountain Friday night at Hot Stuff Stadium in Gypsum on the way to a 37-7 victory, behind three touchdowns from Jerad Schlegel and two from Steve Evancho.
“I thought it was a lot tougher game than last year,” Devils coach John Ramunno said. “I thought the Battle Mountain kids played hard. They’ve got some speed. They like to get that ball outside. They’re big up front. But we have some kids on our team who are explosive. Stevie Evancho just did a great job, I thought. The same thing goes for Schlegel. We’ve got some good kicking too.”
“It’s pretty big because Battle Mountain’s always our biggest rivalry,” Schlegel said. “I thought we we came out and showed that we can play, even though we’re unproven. I think we have to keep working hard every week and. what happens, happens. One game at a time.”
So one down, eight – and maybe more – to go for Eagle Valley.
After the first half, it was still a game with the Devils leading, 16-0. But Battle Mountain turnovers did the Huskies in and the Devils were more than willing to oblige.
The Huskies first turnover of the second half gave Eagle Valley the ball at Battle Mountain’s 38. From there, it was all Evancho. He pulled in a 34-yard pass from quarterback Sean Bartlett, and then rumbled four more yards for six, giving Eagle Valley the lead at 23-0.
Four plays into Battle Mountain’s next possession, the ball was on the ground and the Devils’ Sean Matheson came up with it. Eagle Valley only needed one play this time – a 58-yarder from Schlegel and the rout was on.
“I think that kind of took the air out of them,” Schlegel said.
“These kids played hard. They played tremendously hard,” Huskies coach Pat Engle said. “The mistakes we made are easy to correct. We put the ball on the ground too many times. It’s a game of who’s making mistakes and who’s not.”
Early in the fourth quarter, Evancho capped a 70-yard night with a 21-yard TD run, followed by a two-point conversion from Bartlett to tight end Curtis LeBlanc, for a 37-0 lead.
Evancho and Schlegel nearly combined for 200 yards with Schlegel’s seven carries for 121 yards.
“Those two hit the holes quick and they hit the right holes,” Ramunno said. “A lot of times with this offense, you try to bounce things outside with your offense, you get burned. You have to have patience with it and let your blocks develop. I thought those guys did it well.”
That means that props go to the Devils offensive line of Evaristo Jara, Luis Landeros, Charles Faulhaber, Tommy Ehman and Jake Tolbert.
And, a nod to the Huskies, who kept battling well after the game was decided. Battle Mountain mounted a 68-yard touchdown drive late behind the running of Adrian and Junior Martinez as well as John Andreasan. Adrian Martinez capped the drive with a 2-yard plunge.
The first half defied the turnover rule. Eagle Valley turned the ball over twice – the Huskies once – but the Devils went into the locker room with a 16-0 lead.
Eagle Valley won the toss and promptly marched 50 yards down the field, but Evancho fumbled the ball on the Huskies 7-yard line. Battle Mountain went three-and out and the Devils’ Clayton Forsyth blocked the punt. Schlegel was there to scoop it up in the end zone for the first touchdown of the season. Brad Gamble’s kick was true and Eagle Valley had an early 7-0 lead.
The Devils didn’t need much time on their next possession to score. Eagle Valley went three plays for 51 yards, capped by a 38-yard touchdown scamper by Schlegel.
Down 13-0, Battle Mountain’s offense continued to struggle. As the Huskies went three-and-out again, the Devils went on another drive. A big 27-yard screen from Bartlett to Evancho and Gamble’s 13-yard run moved the Devils to the 18, where their drive stalled. But, Gamble booted through a 35-yard field goal for a 16-0 lead.
The Huskies provided some excitement for their faithful late in the first half. Beau Chadwick picked off a Bartlett pass at the Devils’ 41 and returned it 17 yards. Behind the running of Adrian and Junior Martinez, the Huskies got it down to the Devils’ 5, before Eagle Valley stopped the drive on downs.
Next up for 2A Eagle Valley is a road game vs. Steamboat.
“We’ve got to step it up next week and practice hard for Steamboat, Evancho said. “They’re going to be tough.”
Meanwhile, Battle Mountain regroups for its home opener vs. Plateau Valley.
“The difference from where we’re at right now and where we’re going to go isn’t very far,” Engle said. “Everybody has to buy in, which they have. Everybody has to put the group in front of themselves. But the kids didn’t quit. They played very hard. We just have to improve.”
Chris Freud is the sports editor of the Vail Daily. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or vial firstname.lastname@example.org.