Eagle Valley sinks Sailors in comeback win
Sailors 7 14 0 0 – 21
Devils 0 7 14 7 – 28
SS – Joe DeLine, 6 run, DeLine kick good, 3:43
SS – Zach Holm, 5 run, DeLine kick good, 9:44
SS – DeLine to Christopher Kaminski, 15 pass, 3:39
EV – Jay Neal, 46 fumble return, 1:01
EV – Neal, 63 run, Aldo Palacios kick no good, 8:45
EV – Matthew Sanchez, 40 interception return, Garrett Martin run good, 2:14
EV – Martin to Charlie Fessenden, 7 pass, Palacios kick good, 11:22
GYPSUM – Eagle Valley (6-1 overall, 3-1 in the 3A Slope) pulled off a crucial comeback win against Steamboat Springs (2-5, 0-4) at John Ramunno Field on Friday night, winning 28-21.
It was a sluggish start on both sides of the ball for the Devils, who were not in school Friday due to fall break. After spotting Steamboat 21 points in the first half, the Devils scored the next 28 points and held the Sailors to two first downs in the second half. With the win, the Devils set up a chance at the playoffs with three games remaining.
TALE OF TWO HALVES
Steamboat Springs quarterback Zach Holm put on an option clinic in the first half, unselfishly feeding running back Joe DeLine for big gains and also keeping it himself for a few chunk plays. The Sailors scored on their first two possessions of the game behind touchdown runs by Holm and DeLine.
Eagle Valley’s Kyle Williams, Juan Toscano, Wyatt Boarh, Bryce Muehlethaler and the rest of the defense eventually caught on to the option and started tackling both players in the backfield, despite who had the ball.
With that mindset, and trailing 21-0 late in the first half, the Devils forced a fumble that Jay Neal returned 46 yards for a touchdown just before half, putting Eagle Valley on the board, 21-7, and swinging momentum going into halftime.
HALFTIME PEP TALK
The Devils defense continued to keep them in the game all night long, allowing just two first downs in the second half. On Eagle Valley’s first possession of the second half, Neal broke through the middle of the line and split two defenders 64-yards to pay dirt, bringing the Devils within one score.
The Sailors offense lost its success it was having in the first half, and the Devils defense was looking for turnovers all game. A pass from Holm bounced off the facemask of a Sailors receiver, straight up in the air and into Matthew Sanchez’s open arms. Sanchez caught it running and returned it 40 yards for the touchdown, with the 2-point conversion tying the game, 21-21 heading into the fourth quarter.
Behind solid second-half running by Neal, Williams and Cole Harper, the Devils set up the winning play of the game. On the second play of the fourth quarter for the Devils, Martin hooked up with Charlie Fessenden running the slant for a 7-yard touchdown and the lead.
After getting pushed around and left looking confused play after play in the first half, the Devils defense made big play after big play to give keep Eagle Valley close.
With the Sailors in the red zone late in the fourth quarter, Toscano didn’t fall for the option bait and instead went straight for the Sailors quarterback, jarring the ball loose and giving Eagle Valley a chance to milk six minutes off the clock before giving the Sailors one last chance.
Eagle Valley’s Kyle Jordan intercepted the final pass of the game.
The Devils return to action Friday at Delta (6-1, 4-0) before traveling to Palisade (7-1, 4-1) on Oct. 30 and ending the season at home against Grand Junction Central on Nov. 6.