Eagle Valley sinks Steamboat 34-7
GYPSUM – It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that counts.
In the first 45 seconds, Eagle Valley lost a fumble and gave up a touchdown to the Steamboat Sailors, then gave the Sailors a flogging the rest of the game as the Devils sailed to a 34-7 Homecoming win.
Here’s what you really need to know.
Junior running back Cole Nielsen carried 27 times for 211 yards behind road grader interior linemen Andy Armstrong, Joe Felix, Roberto Cortez, Satchel Jones and Joey Sanchez.
“We wanted to go right at them. We felt like our interior five could take their interior five,” said Eagle Valley coach John Ramunno.
Eagle Valley rolled up 379 yards rushing and 381 yards of total offense.
Steamboat managed only 134 yards total offense as Eagle Valley tallied four sacks.
Those first unsettling moments went like this.
Eagle Valley took the opening kickoff and fumbled a handoff on their second play.
Steamboat recovered on the 25 and on the first play quarterback Christian Ramirez stepped to his right and tossed a lateral to running back Ben Custer. Custer rolled right and fired a strike to wide receiver Jimmy Weltzheim at the goal line.
Less than a minute into the game, after starting on defense, the Sailors led 7-0. It was pretty much the last good thing that would happen to them, unless you count them returning to the field early enough to catch the Devils dance team’s halftime performance.
The Eagle Valley defense’s performance the rest of the game left Steamboat looking like Bambi staring at an oncoming Peterbilt.
“We did a good bearing down on defense,” is how Ramunno put it.
Devils cornerback Juan Calvo put a turnover in the Eagle Valley column when he picked off a Steamboat pass.
Zeke Sandoval picked up nine yards on first down. Two plays later Cole Nielsen broke free for 40 yards around the right side to put Eagle Valley in business, first and goal from the five.
Sandoval broke a tackle and turned the corner over the left side, and found his way into the end zone to make it 6-0. Travis Edgar’s point after tied it 7-7 with 2:15 left in the first quarter.
Eagle Valley’s Ayren Hart threw Steamboat’s Ramirez for a loss and forced the Sailors to punt.
On first down, Nielsen broke free over the right side for 46 yards and Eagle Valley was first and goal from the Steamboat 10. On second down, Devils quarterback Jordan Hudspeth called Nielsen’s number again and he picked his way over the right side all the way to the end zone. Edgar’s extra point made it 14-7 with 6:24 left in the half.
Eagle Valley’s defense opened the second half by throwing Steamboat for a nine yard loss on first down, a three yard loss on second and no gain on third, leaving the Sailors with fourth and eternity.
Eagle Valley forced the Sailors three-and-out for the rest of the third quarter. Meanwhile, the Devils offense started rolling again.
Eagle Valley’s Armstrong threw Steamboat’s Ramirez for a six yard loss, and Joey Sanchez added a tackle for another five yard loss to keep the Sailors pinned deep.
Steamboat punted and Nielsen broke three tackles on a 24 yard return.
The Devils picked up a first down and on the next play Tayler Esslinger made a broken play good for 61 yards.
Rick Ramunno punched it across on the next play to make it 20-7. With Edgar’s PAT it was 21-7 early in the fourth quarter.
Bad luck and good defense made it fourth and 22 and Steamboat punted.
Nielsen picked up 15 yards, another 12, then Andrew Vigil pounded his way into the end zone from 12 yards out. Edgar’s PAT made it 28-7 with 4:44 left.
On fourth and seven, Steamboat’s Ramirez threw a dart over the middle and Nielsen, playing at free safety, picked it off with three minutes left.
Eagle Valley added one more when Nielsen strolled in from seven yards out for the 34-7 final.
“Lots of kids got in the game, and that makes it fun for everyone,” Ramunno said. “It was a blessing to have that bye week last week. We were able to go back to some basics and it gave us some extra time to prepare.”
Eagle Valley travels to Rifle next week.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.