Vail Christian explodes for 50-14 win
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” Don’t blink ” the Vail Christian football team can score that fast.
A quick-strike Saints offense scored seven touchdowns in a 50-14 rout against Silver State in their conference opener on Saturday at Hot Stuff Stadium in Gypsum.
The Saints electric offense didn’t waste any time putting points on the board. Vail Christian had scoring drives of one, three, one, three, three, 10 and three plays in the game.
On the first offensive snap of the game, A.J. Burgess sprinted 55 yards untouched for a touchdown to put Vail Christian ahead 6-0 with 11:42 still showing on the first quarter clock.
It didn’t take long for the Saints to add another long score. With four minutes left in the first quarter, wing-back Elliot Ristow broke through for an 80-yard touchdown to stretch Vail Christian’s lead to 22-0.
“I just cut it up the middle where I was supposed to go,” Ristow said. “(Receiver) Chris Schmidt made a good block. Fortunately, they didn’t catch me.”
Steil Beagley raced in for another TD, this one from 22 yards out, to give Vail Christian a 28-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Saints slowed down a bit in the second quarter, but Burgess was still able to add his second touchdown of the game to make it 36-6 at the break.
In the first half alone, Vail Christian rushed for 239 yards and piled up 309 yards of total offense.
“It’s a credit to the offensive line,” Vail Christian coach Tim Pierson said. “They did a good job of moving their feet, sustaining their blocks, stepping with the right feet. Then we got the running backs some yards. All the yards are a credit to the four guys up front.”
Vail Christian continued to find yards on the ground in the second half. Will Parker plunged over the goal line in the third quarter for a 42-6 lead. In the fourth, Simon Elliot found Chris Schmidt for a 4-yard TD pass for the final Saints touchdown of the game.
Ristow led the Vail Christian ground attack with 118 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries. Burgess added another 76 yards and two touchdowns. Both Burgess and Ristow did all their damage in the first half. For the game, Vail Christian rushed for 315 yards.
Defense creates havoc
The Vail Christian rushing attack may be the story of the game, but the Saints defense put together a solid effort. The defensive backs certainly did their part.
Burgess and Ristow forced Silver State quarterbacks Joey Whittaker and Jordan Fagen to throw five interceptions. Burgess picked off three passes in the first half on near identical plays. The senior would simply wait for an overthrown ball to come down in his arms.
“It was like catching pop flies all day,” Burgess said. “The wind played a huge factor. The ball would be up in the air, and the quarterback would put a little too much air under the ball, then the wind would change its pattern. It happened to fall in my hands every time.”
A little homework paid off for Ristow on his two interceptions.
“We’ve been going over the plays that Silver State runs, and it was two slants that I got the picks on,” he said. “I just read them.”
The Saint defense also did a good job against the run. Silver State only rushed for 157 yards in the game. Pierson credited Kieran Hurtt, Ryan Berry and Simon for the stout rush defense.
Vail Christian travels to Rocky Mountain Lutheran Saturday.