Football begins with the ‘last first practice’ |

Football begins with the ‘last first practice’

Yep, everyone's pretty pumped

Eagle Valley assistant coach George Hudspeth takes Trace Hobbs' temperature before Thursday's first official football practice of the season.
Chris Freud |

Eagle Valley guard and defensive end Trace Hobbs yelled, “Last first practice,” before jogging onto John Ramunno Field in Gypsum on Thursday.

While there are always a few stragglers, most of the Devils were assembled early, also known in football-speak as “on time.”

“This is awesome,” Devils junior Will Geiman said. “This has been pretty crazy. I was real disappointed when we didn’t get a season. Then, they kind of baited you, and then they said no and now we’re here.”

Eagle Valley quarterback Will Geiman loosens up his arm as football practice begins on Thursday in Gypsum. (Chris Freud |

Having effectively summed up the last two months’ worth of the CHSAA/Gov. Jared Polis/bureaucratic/COVID-19 melodrama elegantly, a career in journalism may await. Upon further review, Geiman will stick to being the starting quarterback for Eagle Valley football.

And why not? Thursday afternoon was a slice of normal in a decidedly not-normal world. The football team started practice, while the Eagle Valley dance team was working on a routine on the track and the Devils cross-country team was meeting over by the shade of the gymnasium.

It was downright normal except for the masks everyone was wearing and the memory of assistant football coach George Hudspeth checking everyone’s temperature with a scanner and the approving accompanying beep.

There have been too many stops and starts, so many times when it looked like there would be no season and times when it probably seemed like it wasn’t worth it since March. After all that, it was joyful to be out on the field, even if it was just helmets and no pads on Thursday.

“We’re mostly happy for the players because everyone of them, their mental health and happiness is through the roof,” Devils coach Gabe Brown said. “They’ve put in so much work since the Battle Mountain game last year, it’s just great to get out on the field and have the chance to play somebody.”

Speaking of that Battle Mountain game back in November, a 22-15 Eagle Valley win, irony can be very ironic as the Devils and Huskies will play back-to-back games since the rivalry is the opener in about two weeks — Oct. 9 or 10.

For the trivially-inclined, the two rivals haven’t played in the season opener since 2002, when the Devils were 2A and the Huskies 3A and their meeting was a nonconference one. (Eagle Valley won handily.)

The expectations in Gypsum are high as they are in any camp, including Battle Mountain and Vail Christian in Edwards, which started Thursday. But when you’re coming back from a 5-5 season and have your offensive and defensive fronts and your quarterback back among other personnel, well, it’s OK to dream a little.

In the meantime, happy last first practice to all.

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