Eagle Valley racks up postseason awards
GYPSUM – Even after the season ends, it’s still great to be a Devil.Eagle Valley football brought home 11 postseason accolades, capping off a great year for the Devils.For the Western Slope champions, six players were named first team all-league and four were named honorable mention, while Sean Matheson was named Back of the Year and John Ramunno was named Coach of the Year.First team picks were: Matheson, Cody Comerford, Chris Harvey, Mike Medsker and Jacob Rivera. Brendan Best, Will Britt, Maurice Mitchell and Mason Ewing were honorable mention.”I’m so happy that we were able to turn things around this year,” Ramunno said.”The kids’ work ethic was amazing. There was no ‘I.’ They didn’t care who got the carries. They just wanted to get the wins.”
While the Devils might not have worried about who got the carries, the rest of the league took note of Eagle Valley’s leading rusher, Matheson.With almost 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns, Matheson ran amok against opposing defenses.”He’s had the most yards since we’ve been in the double wing,” Ramunno said. “He had some amazing performances, but the one that sticks out was against Montezuma-Cortez. He had seven rushes for 211 yards. Anyone who saw that game went away in awe.”Matheson will represent the team in the all-state game June 10 in Greeley.Ramunno sees his coaching award as more of a recognition of the entire coaching staff.”It tells you all our coaches do a great job because there’s no way I could get that done without Eric Mandeville, Cliff Zehring, Tom Kirk, Pat Gabriel and Ken Reagan.”Offensive prowessThe Devils’ double wing offense that produced more than 35 points per game during the regular season had its entire backfield and offensive line recognized.
“A lot of our offensive line started for two years,” Ramunno said. “We weren’t real big, but what I like is they really got off the ball quick and were good getting into the second level.”Center Britt also excelled at long-snapping for the Devils.”We didn’t have a single punt blocked, and that’s beause of Will,” Ramunno said. “He puts the ball in the punter’s hands every time. That’s such a talent, and as a coach, you take it for granted.”In the backfield, Harvey and Comerford were productive running the ball. And Medsker, who led the offense at quarterback, will be back next year, much to Ramunno’s delight.”He may be the first quarterback I have that will be able to bench press 300 pounds,” said Ramunno, who plans on putting Medsker at safety on defense.Kottenstette led the Devils with 147 tackles.”I didn’t think I was going to do as great as I did,” Kottenstette said, who attributed the team’s success to hard work and quality coaching. “After last year, we told our coaches it would be different.”Another stalwart defender for the Devils was Mitchell.”Maurice really came on at the end of the year,” Ramunno said. “He had 15 tackles against Cherokee Trail and 17 against Steamboat Springs. He was on fire at the end.”
Rivera, Ewing and Best excelled on both side of the ball, like most of the Eagle Valley players.DepartureRamunno is sad to see his 17 seniors leave, but has enjoyed coaching them for four years.”It was so neat watching kids go from freshman, and see what they turned into as seniors,” Ramunno said. “I know they’ll go on with their work ethic and attitude and be successful young men.”Several seniors have expressed interest in playing college football, and some may look to play under another Ramunno – Joe – at Mesa State.For next year’s Devils, Kottenstette says there’s just as much potential as this year.”As a team, they will be a bit bigger,” Kottenstette said. “They have a lot of ability and talent, but it depends on how hard they work.”Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado