Saints earn their first playoff appearance since 2003 |

Saints earn their first playoff appearance since 2003

Vail Christian's Cole Caynoski, left, tackles Pikes Peak Christian's, Logan Wilson, right, as he runs down the field during Saturday's playoff game at Battle Mountain High School in Edwards.
Dominique Taylor | |

EDWARDS – It’s not quite like the Children of Israel wandering in the wilderness 40 years before crossing the river Jordan and entering the Promised Land, but for the Vail Christian High School Saints, Saturday’s crossover football win was close.

The Saints drilled Pikes Peak Christian 52-0 to win their first crossover game since 2003, to earn their first trip to the state playoffs in a decade.

“We took care of business today,” said Saints coach Tim Pierson.

In the 8-man football division in which the Saints play, their crossover game is a play-in for the playoffs.

Their actual playoff run starts Saturday. They don’t know who or where they’ll play, but they do know one thing.

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“From here on, everyone else is good, too,” said junior running back Ethan Ellsworth.

Ellsworth scored three touchdowns, his best outing of the year, on two 10-yard runs and one from 35 yards out. The best offensive day of the season still belongs to Cole Caynoski, who scored five touchdowns earlier this season against Rocky Mountain Lutheran.

The Saints have scored 52 points three times this season, once against Rocky Mountain Lutheran, once against Plateau Valley and Saturday against Pikes Peak Christian.

“We’re a time-of-possession team,” Pierson said. “We like to play solid defense and work the clock on offense.”

It seems to be working out well.

The Saints are 6-1 on the season. They’re not 9-0 because two games were canceled by flooding on the Front Range, and they lost by two points to Sorocco with a depleted lineup.

One of other teams on their schedule dropped its program when it was too late to find a replacement game. At the time, Pierson figured a bye week wouldn’t hurt, then the floods started and before you could say “water logged turf,” the Saints had a three-week hole in their schedule.

“I’m ecstatic at how hard we compete, especially with the adversity we faced in the middle of the season,” Pierson said.

They didn’t set out to be a scoring machine, it just worked out that way.

“We like to hold the ball as much as we can,” Caynoski said. “Obviously, it makes it tougher for the other team to score if they don’t get the ball much.”

Then there’s the Saints defense. The shutout against Pikes Peak was their third this season.

“Once we get going, we can roll,” Ellsworth said.

Rolling to victory

The Saints scored early and often in Saturday’s win.

Quarterback Brandon Curry opened with a 17 yard run for the Saints’ first touchdown.

Minutes later Ellsworth added the first of his three touchdowns on a 10-yard run up the middle.

Clayton Davis grabbed a 22-yard pass from Curry in the end zone, and Ellsworth followed his blockers into the clear for a touchdown from 35 yards out.

Ellsworth followed it with his third touchdown, this one from 10 yards out.

Mike Lange found his way to the end zone from 30 yards out, and Max Schramm hauled in an 18-yard pass from Curry for a touchdown to round out the scoring.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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