Saints beat West Grand for Homecoming
EDWARDS — Vail Christian football spent most of Saturday afternoon trying to beat West Grand, and it did, 16-12. Now, the Saints are big fans of those same Mustangs.
It’s been a pretty wild 24 hours in the 8-man Central League. Rangely upset Soroco, 41-24, Friday night, and with Vail Christian’s win over West Grand at Battle Mountain on Saturday, there’s a three-way tie at 2-1 atop the standings with the Saints, Rams and Mustangs. Vail Christian is at Hayden Friday, while the Rams host West Grand. If the Saints can win and the Mustangs top the Rams, that’s a league title for Vail Christian.
No word yet on whether Saints principal Jeremy Lowe is going to change the school’s colors to purple and yellow this week.
Whatever machinations lie ahead, Saturday was huge for the Saints. Vail Christian had never beaten the Mustangs since they joined the Central League. (In fact, the Saints had never come close, being outscored in the three previous games, 162-44.)
“Man, five years (sic), they’ve beaten us, whatever it is,” senior quarterback Branden Currey said. “It’s just great coming out on Senior Night. Cole (Caynoski) was injured and a lot of people stepped up and took care of business.”
“I’m proud of our kids,” Saints coach Tim Pierson said. “It’s great they came out and competed. It feels great.”
After a scoreless first quarter, the Saints started the second with a healthy dose of Currey and Ethan Ellsworth on the ground. The latter busted off a 56-yard touchdown rumble with 8:28 left in the half. After a Clayton Davis interception, Currey went 41 yards to the end zone.
“The line was huge,” Currey said. “Our line was able to make some big holes. Sug (Ellsworth) took it to the house. They made a huge hole for me as well. They just blew it up.”
The Saints converted both 2-point conversions, which would turn out to be key. After Branden and sister Kristen Currey got the honor of Homecoming king and queen, West Grand started moving the ball and Saints fans couldn’t have been blamed for getting flashbacks of the Saints’ tight 14-12 loss against Soroco. The Mustangs went 89 yards down the field, thanks in part to Saints’ penalties and West Grand quarterback Nick Ritchard. The quarterback capped the drive with a 6-yard strike to Casey Gore. Kennedy Nary made a big stop on the conversion, leaving the Saints with a 16-6 lead.
The Mustangs were on the march again early in the fourth and scored to close it to 16-12, and the Vail Christian defense had to dig in. Davis made two huge plays, throwing Gore for a loss and then helping break up a Ritchard pass on fourth down to finish West Grand.
“Our defense in the fourth quarter was huge,” Currey said. “When we stopped them on that second fourth down, it was critical.”
The Saints (4-1 overall) ran out the clock from there.
While it’s nice to root for West Grand, Vail Christian still has to knock off Hayden on Friday.
“We need to take care of our stuff,” Pierson said. “We have a great Hayden team next week. They have a lot of talent that’s getting healthy. They had a bye week this week. We know we’re going to get a battle.”
The question on many people’s minds after the Birds of Prey giant slalom at Beaver Creek on Sunday: Who is Tommy Ford?