Two Devils’ gridders headed to Mesa St.
GYPSUM – Come August, Sean Matheson and Maurice Mitchell will be in familiar situations. The Eagle Valley seniors will be hitting the gridiron at Mesa State, much like they have done in years past when they went to football camp there.This time, however, they’ll be doing so hoping to earn playing time on the Mesa State team. Recently, both players signed letters of intent to attend Division II Mesa next fall.And when they start summer practice, not only will the field look familiar, but their head coach will, too.Mesa coach Joe Ramunno is the brother of Eagle Valley coach John Ramunno.Mitchell is excited to have another Ramunno at the helm.
“He’s just like John,” Mitchell said of Joe. “He’s got the same view of the game.”John thinks Mitchell and Matheson won’t have any trouble with the transition into Joe’s style of coaching.”Joe is a player’s coach, and was successful at the high school level because he gets along with kids and is a great motivator,” John Ramunno said.And it also helps that Matheson and Mitchell happen to be solid athletes.”Sean caught Joe’s eye early because he had the best 40 time at the summer camps,” Ramunno said. “And Maurice had the best vertical jump. He can jump like a deer.”
This past year, Matheson cut loose for big gains from the running back position, stuffed opposing wide receivers at cornerback and forced opposing kickers and punters to avoid him on returns at all costs.Mitchell used his power and speed while playing offensive line to aid the vaunted Eagle Valley rush, and wreaked havoc all over the defensive side while playing linebacker.OutlookMatheson will likely concentrate on cornerback next year.
“In college, when you play a lot of man-to-man, speed is such an asset,” Ramunno said. “And Sean’s just about as fast as he wants to be.”Ramunno said that Matheson’s speed could also have him returning some kicks or punts.After two years at linebacker and offensive line, Mitchell will be looking to make a move to the backfield or secondary.”They told me they want me to play fullback or strong safety,” Mitchell said. “I played fullback sophomore year, but I’m pretty surprised they want me there because I’ve never played there as a varsity player.”Still, Mitchell is excited about the prospect of switching positions, and he’s preparing for it.
“I love the physical aspect of (fullback),” Mitchell said. “I’m going to be working to gain 10 to 15 pounds.”Mitchell is also glad he’ll have Matheson there with him next year.”I’m stoked that it’s not just me, but someone who I’ve played with for six years,” Mitchell said.And who knows? Maybe Mitchell and Matheson will be on the field helping out Eagle Valley kids when they head down to Mesa State for their camp in August.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado