Devils victorious on Homecoming

Ryan Slabaugh

It was Homecoming for the Devils, but in the second game, it seemed more like Halloween. Eagle Valley jumped out to a 9-4 lead and looked to be cruising. Senior Kim Smith served three straight aces and after senior Chelsea Abbott put up two kills of her own, Hotchkiss called a timeout.

The Bulldogs, using big hits from Rachel Schmucker and Kayla Zimmerman, came back to tie the game at 12-12.

That’s when a bit of the helter skelter crept into Eagle Valley’s gymnasium.

Both crowds were warned about shouting during the serves and eventually, Bulldogs head coach Gregg Hawkins was ejected, giving the Devils a crucial point. The long pause seemed to snap the Devils out of the “discombobulation,” as senior Erin Sterkel put it.

Up 13-12, and with Smith serving, Sterkel, using more trick than treat, juked the Bulldogs defense with a set over the net and into the back corner. A diving Hotchkiss back line could only muster a dig into the unruly crowd.

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It was all the momentum Eagle Valley needed, as senior Diane Mayne finished out Hotchkiss, a team that beat the Devils last season in the district tournament, with a block on Amy Lacey’s kill. The crowd, finally given a reason to be loud, applauded the effort of the winning Lady Devils.

The match was the second in two nights for Eagle Valley, which fell Thursday to Vail Mountain School.

“When you get your passes solid, it’s easier to get to the net,” Sterkel said. “It didn’t happen yesterday, but we played much better today.”

Kenzie Shreeve and Abbott led the Devils with eight kills in the match. Shreeve served an ace to finish off Hotchkiss in the first game.

Smith led the red and black with 11 digs on the match.

“Last year, we would lose the second game and have to come back to win the third,” Devils head coach Karl Talcott said. “You never know what’s going to happen in the third set. This year, we’re winning that second set.”

Eagle Valley travels to West Grand Tuesday for a 6 p.m. start.

More of the same for Devils football

GYPSUM –Eagle Valley football wanted a quick start Friday night against Hotchkiss.

What they got was unbelievable.

The Devils scored on their first three plays from the line of scrimmage, built up a 28-0 lead early in the second quarter and coasted to a 48-13 win over the Bulldogs.

“We wanted to come out fired up,” said Devils running back Craig Jagger, a main part of a crew that ran for 353 yards on the day. “It was Homecoming. We wanted to come out with a bang.”

How about three bangs. On the first play of the game, senior J.J. Alvis took a toss up the middle, stiff-armed two defensive backs and ran 75 yards into the end zone.

In 19 seconds, Eagle Valley had its first lead.

Hotchkiss, forced to punt, would get the ball back soon enough. On Eagle Valley’s first play on their second drive, Jagger took the misdirection 60 yards into the end zone, virtually untouched.

Wait. There’s more.

Jagger intercepted Hotchkiss quarterback Gates Shaklee on third and long and returned the ball to the 5-yard line. From there, fullback Tim Rietz powered into the end zone on the first play.

With a 21-0 lead, Eagle Valley had possession of the ball just 44 seconds.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had that,” said Devils head coach John Ramunno, who’s been coaching the Devils for 23 years. “We wanted to get better every week. Last week, we didn’t start hard. As many weapons as we have on this team, there’s no reason we shouldn’t get out with a lead.”

On the Devils’ fourth drive, Eagle Valley showed that yes, it could take its time. Senior quarterback Justin Wood led a 12-play, 72-yard drive that took nearly five minutes and gave his team a 28-0 lead after Jagger dove in from 1 yard out.

Hotchkiss tried to come back, but at this point, it was like grabbing a wet duck. The Bulldogs gave it to Todd Queen time and time again. Queen ran for 166 yards on 33 carries, and found the end zone with a 28-yard run to cut the lead to 21.

Like Alex Trebek, Eagle Valley always had the answer. Jagger scored his third touchdown of the game with a 23-yard run around the left side midway through the second quarter.

“As Coach said, we have to keep getting better,” Jagger said. “We knew this could be a touch game. But we just got to them. We have a lot of guys who like playing football.”

Hotchkiss added a touchdown before halftime, but by then, the dogs had already been called back to the kennel.

Devils fullback Eric Smith added a 2-yard touchdown in the third quarter, followed by a 24-yard touchdown pass from Wood to Alvis to finish the scoring.

Eagle Valley, 5-0 overall, 3-0 in the 2A Western Slope League, travels to Basalt Friday for a 7:30 p.m. start.

“We just have to make sure we don’t get ambushed,” Ramunno said. “We played them two years ago and they were 0-4 and they beat us.”

NOTES: Alvis ran for 99 yards on six carries, plus kicked six extra points. He was also voted Homecoming King, accompanied by Queen Laura Sandoval…Jagger ran for 88 yards on four carries, all in the first half…Wood completed 4 of 6 passes for 59 yards and added 21 yards rushing. On the season, he has eight touchdown passes and no interceptions… Smith rushed eight times for 79 yards…Phillip Rivera, Pat Kohl, Jerad Schlegel and Derek Baldwin all had sacks. Schlegel also recovered a fumble.

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