Devils set for state quarterfinals
To put it simply, it will be Baldwin’s job to make sure runners can’t turn the corner.
“We have to keep control,” said Baldwin, enjoying his first year of football with the 10-0 Devils, who face the Pirates (8-2) on the road in the 2A state quarterfinals Saturday at 1 p.m. “If we do our jobs, they have to run inside. If they run inside, they will get tackled. We have a good team defense because nobody’s selfish.”
Eagle Valley, ranked No. 3 in the state, is coming off an impressive 35-0 win in the first round last Saturday. The Devils racked up nine penalties, though, which has had head coach John Ramunno preaching the little things this week in practice.
“We can’t get the hops. And we have to avoid talking to the other team and the late hits,” said Ramunno, who will be facing Pagosa for the first time in his 23-year coaching span at Eagle Valley. “I think we match up with them pretty well. Size-wise, they aren’t much bigger than us. They run the option and run it well.”
On the other side of the field, Devils senior Pat Kohl will have run-containment duties.
“I just can’t get sucked in,” Kohl said. “We have to avoid being drawn in on the fullback.”
And, as far as being one of the last teams in the state still playing?
“I’m psyched to still be playing football,” Kohl said. “We’ve had some pretty good practices this week. I don’t want this to be the last game.”
Pagosa does have two losses this season, one coming against 3A playoff contender Alamosa in the season opener, and the other coming in a surprising 32-13 loss to lowly Bayfield.
Eagle Valley, on the other hand, has had a solid run of pounding 2A Western Slope competition, which has prompted the Denver media to challenge the meaning of the Devils’ perfect record, calling them “unchallenged.”
“All we’ve been hearing about is Eaton and Holy Family, Eaton and Holy Family,” Ramunno said. “We played Holy Family to a close game last year and we’d love to have them again.”
Eagle Valley hits the road this morning. The Devils will make a lunch-stop in Buena Vista and a practice-stop at the indoor field in Salida. Then, it’s on to Pagosa for a good night’s sleep, unless, of course, you’re Baldwin.
He’s got a quarterback on his mind.
Ryan Slabaugh is a sports writer for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.