Turnovers haunt Eagle Valley in 28-7 loss | VailDaily.com

Turnovers haunt Eagle Valley in 28-7 loss

Ian Smith
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyEagle Valley coach John Ramunno talks to his team before practice last week. The Devils fell in their first game of the season 28-7 to Faith Christian.

ARVADA, Colorado ” A no-huddle offense and a stingy defense greeted the Eagle Valley football team in its first game of the season on Saturday. The results weren’t pretty.

The Devils fell to Class 2A powerhouse Faith Christian 28-7 in their season opener. The Falcons entered the game ranked No. 8 in Class 2A and have won two state championships in the last four years. Faith Christian showed why on its first offensive possession.

The Falcons promptly marched 78 yards in seven plays to score the first touchdown of the game. Noah Applegate ” a menace all day ” capped the drive with a 2-yard burst into the end zone. Applegate was just getting started.

“We didn’t get a very good start today,” Eagle Valley coach John Ramunno said. “Our kids kind of seemed flat.”

Early in the second quarter, Applegate again plowed his way into the end zone ” this time from 1-yard out ” to push the Falcons’ advantage to 14-0. The senior finished the game with three touchdowns and 69 yards rushing.

“They went off numbered plays (in the no-huddle),” Eagle Valley coach John Ramunno said. “What it does defensively, is it keeps you in your defense. You can’t stunt or do anything with the defensive line.

“But, I don’t think that’s what hurt us. They ran their fullback really well. Sometimes we were over penetrating up front and not shedding our blocks quick enough. They did a good job of throwing the ball and running the ball. That’s a good football team.”

While Faith Christian’s no-huddle offense baffled Eagle Valley, the Devils’ offense couldn’t respond. In its first three possessions, Eagle Valley went three-and-out twice and fumbled the ball away to the Falcons. The Devils also muffed a punt that ended up in the hands of a Faith Christian player.

The Eagle Valley offense came to life on its first possession of the second quarter. The Devils marched 51 yards on eight plays and had an excellent chance to score until disaster struck again. On second and goal inside Faith Christian’s 5-yard line, Eagle Valley fumbled, wiping out its longest drive of the game. The Devils turned the ball over three times on Saturday.

Late in the second quarter, Faith Christian scored a huge touchdown. The Falcons set up the touchdown with a big punt return all the way down to the Eagle Valley 36-yard line. Four plays later, Faith Christian punched the ball in again, stretching the halftime lead to 21-0.

“We gave up a score right before the half that was kind of silly,” Ramunno said. “It could have been a lot closer. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but you can’t say one position has to get better. Everyone has to get better.”

The break was beneficial for the Eagle Valley defense. The Devils forced two second half turnovers and recovered four fumbles in the game. Eagle Valley took advantage of a Faith Christian fumble to notch its first touchdown of the game.

Harrison Neal, John Crawford and Matt Morgan took turns gaining yards on the ground on the drive. Neal’s 1-yard touchdown run capped the 10-play, 42-yard drive and cut the deficit to 21-7.

Unfortunately for the Devils, that’s as close as they got. Applegate added his third touchdown of the game for Faith Christian to put it out of reach at 28-7.

Neal led Eagle Valley with 37 yards on the ground. Crawford added another 26, but the Devils only had 80 yards rushing in the game.

Morgan also had trouble finding his rhythm in the opener. The quarterback completed only three passes for 13 yards.

“We shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times (today),” Ramunno said. “Next week, we have to play with more intensity.”

Eagle Valley gets another chance to defeat a Class 2A team when Olathe comes to Gypsum next Friday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Hot Stuff Stadium.

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or ismith@vaildaily.com.

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