Vail Christian football 74, Soroco 66, a look back (column)
This is what makes this job so fun.
You are going to an average high school sporting event such as Soroco at Vail Christian football. You think you know what’s going to happen. (Soroco will win because the Rams were in the state semifinals last year.) And then everything goes crazy.
Vail Christian beats Soroco, 74-66 … in a regulation football game.
Some news and notes from this instant classic.
• The previous record for most points in a Vail Christian football game was the 2003 first-round playoff game, which the Saints won 64-52 over Genoa-Hugo. Ironically, it was a scoreless game after the first quarter and then all heck broke loose.
Vail Christian quarterback P.J. Bevan — we suppose that’s Dr. Bevan now — threw for 300 yards and rushed for 200 more.
The only thing that saved Vail Christian was that Genoa-Hugo went into a two-minute offense at the end. Why the Pirates started to pass when their quarterback was averaging a first down per carry still mystifies me to this day.
The all-time quote from then-head coach Bob Isbell was, “I’d like to think we made some defensive adjustments at the half.”
• True story, Vail Christian didn’t have stats the day after the game, something that is perfectly understandable since few of us can count that high. Soroco also hasn’t finished counting numbers either.
• While we don’t have stats yet, it is worth stating that the Saints did a decent job on the Rams’ Jace Logan, Soroco’s Mr. Everything. In a 64-46 win over Plateau Valley last week, Logan carried the ball 34 times for 480 yards and nine touchdowns. (That has to be one of the craziest stat lines of all time.) Logan only had seven touchdowns against the Saints.
• On a serious note, Vail Christian’s defense did play well early, allowing the Saints to have a 30-8 lead early in the second quarter. They needed the gap as this one continued. Vail Christian was also trying to score late in the second quarter to milk the clock, got stopped at the Soroco goal line, and the Rams came back to score a touchdown with 7-tenths of second left in the half to close the lead to 36-30.
That could have been a turning point in the wrong direction, but the Saints — and they’re young — didn’t let swing the momentum. Good on them.
• This game was tied at 36 and 44. Quarterback Jamison Lee rumbled 47 yards, giving Vail Christian a 52-44 lead that would hold through the fourth quarter.
• Just for fun, the scores by quarter:
Soroco: 8 28 14 22.
Saints: 22 14 16 22.
• Earlier this season, Saints coach Tim Pierson talked to me about how his team needed to work on two-point conversions. That’s a small detail. It wasn’t small in this game. The Saints were 7-for-10 against Soroco. Fourteen points in a 74-66 win is a pretty big deal. And, boy, did Jack Powers make sure he found that end zone on his conversion in the fourth quarter to make it 60-50.
• This is the point in the column when we would be making basketball jokes, except that Saints boys basketball dropped 86 points on the Rams last winter.
• By the way, isn’t it wonderful to have Vail Christian and Soroco playing football again? In theory, Vail Christian and Vail Mountain is the natural rivalry in most sports. But, truthfully, Vail Christian and Soroco have developed a great rivalry in football, basketball and volleyball. With schools this size, it’s the same kids playing each other in different sports and there’s a fun edge to these schools playing each other.
As with all rivalries, there are stereotypes — and they are stereotypes — and here you have the religious private school full of rich kids — again, a stereotype — against the cast of Deliverance — stereotype, people. These two schools should play football every year, regardless of what classification in which they compete.
• And, this was a pretty big win for Vail Christian (4-2 overall and 2-2 in the Northwest.) The Saints threw their collective hat into the playoff discussion by beating Soroco.
West Grand and Rangely are the class of the Northwest, but the Saints can finish third in the league. With the disclaimer that your mileage may vary, three teams (West Grand, Gilpin County and Soroco) came out of the league last year via the rating-percentage index. Just saying.
• Now, go get Gilpin County next week.
Staff writer Ross Leonhart contributed to this story.
Rita’s two closest peers have climbed the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak 21 times each, but both of them have retired from mountain climbing.