Devils run through Steamboat Springs, 25-3
Special to the Daily
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — One play, one injury, and another crippling loss for the Steamboat Springs High School football team.
For two-and-a-half quarters, the Sailors went toe-to-toe with a strong visiting Eagle Valley team in a defensive struggle that saw just nine combined points through 31 minutes of play.
But on a routine gang tackle, every player from the Steamboat defense and the Devils offense got up — except Zach Holm.
Holm clutched his back and winced in pain as he walked off the Gardner Field with 5:03 remaining in the third quarter. The remaining 17 minutes of football can best be characterized as a deflating blur for the Sailors, as Eagle Valley found its groove, reeling off 19 unanswered points to down Steamboat, 25-3.
Holm’s importance as Steamboat’s quarterback and arguably its best linebacker showed through in the final quarter and change. The Sailors managed just 20 yards of offense on 24 plays after he left for the hospital on an injury cart.
Eagle Valley, meanwhile, kept chugging along, taking advantage big time of a deflated Steamboat team. The Devils out-gained the Sailors in the second half, 236 yards to 21, and racked up 302 rushing yards against Steamboat’s 11 in the game.
TALE OF TWO HALVES
Before the injury and the onslaught that ensued afterward, Steamboat looked every bit as strong as Eagle Valley in all phases of the game.
The Sailors defense forced four first-half punts and intercepted Devils quarterback Harrison Stevens to end the first half. But Steamboat had equal troubles on offense, posting just 92 first-half yards and punting or fumbling on its first five drives.
Joe DeLine, Holm’s replacement at quarterback late in the third quarter, saved Steamboat from a shutout with a 28-yard field goal just before the halftime buzzer.
Eagle Valley finally made it a two-score game with 3:57 left in the third quarter on a Buck Ortiz 35-yard scoring scamper, making it 12-3. The Devils scored another Ortiz touchdown on their first drive of the fourth quarter, and nailed the door shut on their final drive with a 42-yard Riley Rowles rumble to cap the night at 25-3.
“We finally got some run stuff going in the second half,” said Eagle Valley coach John Ramunno, who graduated from Steamboat Springs High School. “We figured out how they were aligning their defense and took advantage of some different blocking.”
Ortiz finished with an Eagle Valley-high 128 yards on just eight carries and two touchdowns.
A WIN IS A WIN
Coach Ramunno’s annual trip back to his alma mater may not have gone as easily as last year’s 48-12 blowout, but a win is a win, he told the team afterward, and doing it on his former school’s turf is even sweeter.
“Lot’s of memories up here,” Ramunno said. “That little locker room we are in was the one I had when I was in high school.”
Eagle Valley improved to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in 3A Western Slope League play. The Devils host conference powerhouses Delta and Palisade the next two weeks. They round out the regular season on Oct. 30 at Grand Junction Central.
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