Vail Christian football crushes Byers
Playoffs next for Saints
EDWARDS — Now the fun begins.
Vail Christian 8-man football finished the preliminaries, aka the regular season, with a 9-0 record after a 66-0 thrashing of Byers on Saturday afternoon at Battle Mountain. It’s the third perfect regular season in school history.
“Right there with them,” said coach Tim Pierson, comparing this year’s squad to the school’s 2003 and 2014 teams. “Good times. I’m proud of these kids. It’s fun. It’s an accomplishment and you celebrate the good times. They’ve been through the tough times. Now it’s the playoffs. Let’s see.”
The Saints pretty much wrapped that up during a Week 4 win at West Grand, and have been eyeing the postseason since.
“Going into every game, we respect our opponents obviously, but we know that we’re a great team and we went out every week to get better,” Saints quarterback Jamison Lee said. “The upcoming weeks are going to be difficult, but we’re ready to go all the way.”
The play of the game came after it was long decided, yet bootlegged copies of the tape will doubtless command vast sums of money on eBay.
Lineman Slater O’Brien picked off Byers quarterback Ty Miller and ran back the interception for a touchdown. O’Brien soared majestically; showing exceptional hands for a big man and ran with the grace of a wide receiver.
OK, maybe not.
But at the 20th reunion, O’Brien’s pick-six will have been to win a tight game against Byers. At the 30th reunion, that pick will have won the state title, and by No. 50, it’s the Super Bowl winner.
O’Brien joins fellow senior lineman John Pavelich as big Saints who have scored this season.
“I’m really happy for him, but there’s part of me that’s like, ‘Man, now I’ve got to get a touchdown myself,’” Pavelich said.
The rout is on
Like most of the second half of the season, the Saints were a cut above on Saturday. However, as in similar games earlier this year, Vail Christian took care of business, scoring on six of its seven first-half drives, and allowing just two first downs against the Bulldogs during the first half.
Simon Nowicki started his parade to the end zone with the first of his three touchdowns, this one a 9-yard scamper.
The running joke in Vail Christian football via the public-address system is “Simon (or Vinny), the 12th of the Nowicki children.” For the record, Simon is Nowicki No. 3, followed by Vinny. Older brother Jake Nowicki, the second-oldest to Tyler, flew in from school in Vermont to watch his younger brothers on Saturday.
You will be quizzed on this later.
Chris Cappel rumbled 56 yards to the house for a 14-0 lead. For some reason, the Saints did not score on their third possession, but Vinny Nowicki picked up the offense with a fumble recovery. That set up his brother Simon for a 10-yard rumble early in the second quarter.
Since presumably, quarterback Lee is a renaissance man, he mixed things up by throwing a touchdown pass — 23 yards — to Simon Nowicki.
Lee and Nowicki both ran for scores to end the half, and the clock rolled.
If the offense is rolling like this and getting this many chances that means the big guys in the trenches are doing their jobs.
“I never really see it as getting your name in the paper,” Pavelich said. “I see it as going out and playing with my friends. It’s fun, always is. It’s always satisfying seeing one of your friends run 60 yards and get a touchdown.”
Vail Christian entered Saturday fourth in the rating-percentage index — its drop due to playing teams with losing records the last three weeks in Gilpin County, Plateau Valley, and Byers. Hypothetically, the Saints would play the No. 13 team, but that was Rangely on Saturday. CHSAA doesn’t allow league rematches during the first round, so the Saints would be looking at No. 14 Holly or No. 12 Sargent.
The latter would be more likely as a prospective first-round opponent given the comparatively shorter travel distance to Eagle County. While the RPI will change as Saturday’s scores come in from around the state, that’s a rough work idea of the process. The bracket comes out today.
Pierson said the Saints will play on Saturday at Eagle Valley.
In the meantime, Saturday was Senior Day and the football class of 2020 is Cappel, Andrew Stojkovich, Lee, Andrew Flynn, Hayden Sticksel, Simon Nowicki, Micah Sharpe, Pavelich, and Ryan Downey.
Vail Christian football
Bulldogs 0 0 0 0 — 0
Saints 14 30 8 14 — 66
V – Simon Nowicki, 9 run, run good, 8:35
V – Chris Cappel, 56 run, pass failed, 6:53
V – Nowicki, 10 run, run good, 10:51
V – Jamison Lee to Nowicki, run good, 10:24
V – Lee, 4 run, run good, 4:42
V – Nowicki, 15 run, pass failed, 0:53
V – Lee, 21 run, run good, 6:20
V – Lee to Cappel, 58 pass, run failed, 7:01
V- Slater O’Brien, 42 interception return, run good, 2:55