Saints return to Eagle-Vail
Oct. 25, 2003, was simply one of the most amazing days I’ve had at the Vail Daily.
Vail Christian football made its playoff debut at then-Huskies Stadium. You knew it was going to be special, but what happened was simply unbelievable.
Vail Christian 64, Genoa-Hugo 52.
As I wrote at the time, “This was football, people, not basketball.” (Remember that Vail Christian basketball was still in its infancy, so I’m not sure if the Saints had scored 64 points in a hoops game yet.)
It produced one of the most memorable quotes I’ve ever had here.
“I’d like to think we made some defensive adjustments at the half,” then-Saints head coach Bob Isbell said.
And what might those have been, Bob?
Today, five years to the day, the Saints play their first postseason home game since that track meet when they host Haxtun back at Phelan Field. So keeping in mind that “The past is prologue,” a look at the craziest day in Vail Christian football.
– This game was scoreless after the first quarter. Really. I still have the notes from that game.
– Stats: The Saints and Pirates combined for 1,222 yards of offense. Vail Christian quarterback P.J. Bevan was 11-for-17 for 344 yards, throwing for four touchdowns. Bevan also carried the ball 12 times for 160 yards and two more TDs. That was 504 yards of offense. Pirates QB Brian Nestor called his number 23 times for 330 yards and found the end zone five times. And as stunning as it may seem, the Saints’ defense somehow produced four turnovers in this offensive gala.
– Great hands: I don’t know what Vail Christian wide-receiver Rex Roberts is doing to today. I hope he’s a doctor because he had incredible hands that day. Roberts had six catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns, which is a very good day’s work. The numbers do not do justice to the way he came down with the ball each time.
– The Phelan-ator: This was a play dating back to Isbell’s and Pat Phelan’s days coaching at Battle Mountain in the 90s. In theory, this was a reverse to Robbie Brgoch, who would lateral the ball back to Bevan who would then throw it to Roberts. This play, however, simply didn’t Phelan-ate, a verb created five years ago.
Bevan was covered, so Brgoch just took off and barely got a first down. It was a small play in a game of very big plays. By the way, Phelan did the announcing that day, and said “First down, Huskies” once, which was commendable, given that he had been announcing Battle Mountain football games for years at Huskies Stadium.
– Another memorable play came from senior Nate Simon. Better known for his defense as a linebacker, Simon absolutely broke some ankles on run in the second half. Does anyone know if he has a younger brother?
– Big plays: The Saints scored on plays of 80, 26, 21, 39 and 49 yards in one day. The last one ” a 49-yarder – was Bevan running untouched into the end zone while pumping his fist to clinch the game.
– Isbell and I talked about the end of this game several times, and both of us will never know why Genoa-Hugo decided to go to a passing offense in the final two minutes. Nestor was running all over the place at will, averaging a first down per carry. Since the clock stops with a first down, the Pirates simply should have kept running.
But Genoa-Hugo passed and Andreas Bauer, who had quarterbacks for lunch all year, sacked Nestor and the Saints held on.
– For everyone’s sake, we hope today’s game has “only” about half the excitement of the game five years ago.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.
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