Saints go by land, air in win against Eagles
EDWARDS — Vail Christian football advanced to 2-0 in the Central League with a 54-0 conference win against Rocky Mountain Lutheran at Battle Mountain on Saturday.
The Saints (3-0 overall) scored 30 points in the first quarter and added 16 more before half while the defense held stout and kept the Eagles from the end zone all game.
ESTABLISHING THE RUN
Vail Christian started the game with a heavy dose of Caleb Chicoine out of the backfield. On the opening drive, senior quarterback Logan Raitt fed Chicoine the ball on two sweep plays. On the third play, Raitt faked it to the senior back and ran it himself 43 yards for the first points of the game. A pass to sophomore David Caballero for the 2-point conversion made it 8-0.
“The offensive line is stepping really well,” said Saints coach Tim Pierson. “They’re stepping as a unit and they’re blocking well. That definitely helps.”
The Saints defense forced a three and out on the next possession. With the Eagles defense leaning, the Saints ran a counter for a 30-yard touchdown by sophomore Ethan Kuhns. Jake Nowicki ran the 2-point conversion in to make it 16-0 less than halfway into the first quarter.
“Once we opened up the edge with a little jet fly sweep, the inside counter game opened up as well,” Pierson said.
With the ground game established, Raitt took to the air for the next two touchdowns of the first quarter. The quarterback stood in the pocket and took a hit, but was able to complete the screen pass to Caballero for a 44-yard score.
On the Saints’ next possession, a play action pass opened up senior receiver Alex Davis for a 40-yard over-the-shoulder basket catch on a dime by Raitt.
“It makes it a lot easier having good blockers there,” Raitt said. “And Alex (Davis) and David (Caballero) are such great receivers.”
The Saints defense didn’t allow the big play with strong line play and lots of blue jerseys around the ball carriers.
Sophomore Riley Spear returned to action and helped anchor the Saints defensive line.
“It was good to be back,” Spear said. “We’re just flying around hitting people.”
The Vail Christian defenders were buzzing with sophomores Jimmy Pavelich and Rick Cuny and seniors Keaghen Mullin and Ryan Hethcote making plays all over the field.
The Eagles were threatening to score at the end of the half, putting together a nice drive and red zone opportunity.
With 12 yards to pay dirt, the Eagles quarterback threw a slant for 11 yards, but the receiver was stood up and sophomore Tom Engleby stripped the ball. The Saints defenders swarmed and recovered it in the end zone for a touchback.
The Saints travel to Elbert on Friday for a conference game against the Bulldogs. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2922 and firstname.lastname@example.org