Mustangs rise to the moment, beat Saints
GYPSUM — After the week’s events, it was reassuring that Vail Christian and West Grand went after it on Friday night in the usual fashion at John Ramunno Field in Gypsum.
Just three days after their quarterback John David “J.D.” Guess died in an auto accident, the Mustangs took the field with a huge contingent of fans from Kremmling, and recorded an emotional 34-8 win over the Saints.
That gives West Grand (8-1 overall and 8-0 in conference) the Central League title. The Mustangs will be home next week for a first-round state-playoff game next week, while the Saints (7-1) will likely hit the road.
On the field, Vail Christian was without the services of senior lineman Ryan Hethcote, who sustained a knee injury in practice on Thursday. That clearly affected the Saints on offense. The Saints had difficulty all night with shotgun snaps.
After Vail Christian failed to convert on a fourth down on the Mustangs’ 45-yard line in the first quarter, the Saints defense shut down West Grand. Ethan Kuhns ripped off a 34-yard run on the ensuing possession. Quarterback Logan Raitt then hooked up with Alex Davis for a 30-yard touchdown strike, and an 8-0 Vail Christian lead.
West Grand responded with a 27 yard pass from quarterback Brady Gore to David Gaura. Gore, who normally wears No. 15, changed his jersey to No. 9 to honor his fallen teammate. Gore called his own number for a 4-yard score, but West Grand did not convert the 2-pointer, leaving the Saints with an 8-6 lead at the half.
Mustangs Take Lead
The Mustangs went to the air to start the second half with Gore hitting Travis Etler for 33 yards. That combined with a face-mask penalty, set up a Gore run for 2 yards to the house and his team’s first lead of the game at 14-8.
West Grand kept it rolling with a spectacular play by Antonio Corrales. With the Saints attempting a punt, Corrales took the ball off David Caballero’s foot and ran it all the way to the house. Vail Christian tried a fake punt on its next possession. The Mustangs weren’t fooled. Gore got his third score of the game and the Mustangs were cruising at 28-6. He finished with four scores, about the best way he could honor Guess.
Friday was also Senior Night for Vail Christian. Your Saints seniors are Caleb Chicoine, Raitt, Davis, Keaghen Mullin, Hethcote and Johnny Barron.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.