Saints overcome miscues, beat Cowboys, 22-12
EDWARDS — Really?
Are you kidding me?
Vail Christian 8-man football overcame a bizarre start — the Saints fumbled twice in the first quarter with visiting Plateau Valley’s defense returning said turnovers for touchdowns and a 12-0 lead — to beat the Cowboys, 22-12, at Battle Mountain in Edwards.
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Plateau Valley did not run a play from the line of scrimmage until there was 1:11 left in the first quarter and had scored two touchdowns.
The Saints fumbled on their first possession with the Cowboys’ Marlon Castillo returning the ball 48 yards to the house. On their second possession, the Saints fumbled again only to see Plateau Valley’s Elijah Wilson run it back 66 yards for a 12-0 lead with 4:55 left in the first quarter.
We’re pretty sure that this was not how the Vail Christian coaching staff drew up the first game of the year, but this now falls under the category of, “We can all laugh about it now.”
In fairness to Vail Christian, it was a wet night with rain falling throughout the evening, but it was about as whacky of a start as could be imagined.
The Saints got a handle on the football and the game with quarterback Logan Raitt and Alex Davis pounding the rock. Vail Christian finally hit pay dirt on a 18-yard pass from Raitt to Davis to close the lead to 12-8 with the 2-point conversion.
Davis had redeemed himself for the first fumble with that grab and Ethan Kuhns, who had the second fumble, also found redemption on the Cowboys’ first possession.
Kuhns jumped on a Plateau Valley fumble late in the first quarter.
Raitt to Davis — again for 18 yards — put the Saints ahead, 14-12, at halftime.
One could say the Saints defense was rested, but, then again, Vail Christian players do double duty on offense and defense. Either way, the Saints stopped the Cowboys offense.
And, in a case of turnabout is fair play, Plateau Valley obligingly fumbled the second-half kickoff and the Saints marched 41 yards down the field for a score.
Raitt found David Caballero for a score on a fourth-and-10 from the Cowboys’ 15 for a 22-12 lead.
Vail Christian’s defense came up clutch in the third quarter. After Plateau Valley’s Castillo intercepted Raitt, the Blue Crush stood up the Cowboys. Kuhns and Ryan Hethcote ended that possession with 13-yard sack.
Keaghen Mullin helped stall another Cowboys’ drive with a sack of his own in the fourth.
Vail Christian was originally scheduled to play Plateau Valley down at Eagle Valley, but the armed robbery at Tienda Montes in Gypsum and the ensuing chase of one of the suspects forced a hasty change of venue to Battle Mountain.
The Saints (1-0) were scheduled to open league next week against Longmont Christian, but that school dropped its program, so Vail Christian has a bye. The Saints now open their Central League slate at Nederland on Sept. 19.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.