Vail Christian routs North Park to clinch Central League title
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” Wow. Talk about a championship-clinching win.
Vail Christian scored early and often, storming to a 52-0 victory over North Park on Saturday in Gypsum. The win seals the Central League crown for the Saints (6-1, 6-0), their first since 2003.
“It feels great,” running back Will Parker said. “We have been working for it all season. It’s good to have it under our belts.”
The Vail Christian players toasted the victory with in style. Plans to drench Coach Tim Pierson with Gatorade started early in the second half. The players did the heavy lifting with less than a minute left, leaving Pierson wet, but obviously content with his team’s superb performance.
“I’ve never had (a Gatorade bath) before,” Pierson said. “It feels good. It feels good. All those times where you are really frustrated, and you don’t want to go out for practice. You know, it’s just a good feeling.”
“I sort of planned it, but they got to the Gatorade before I could turn around and get it,” junior Kieran Hurtt said. “It was cool to watch.”
The Saints left little doubt of the outcome right from the start. Parker turned Vail Christian’s first possession into points with a 12-yard touchdown scamper. On the next drive, Larry Cavanaugh plunged in from two yards out on a quarterback draw to push the Saints’ advantage to 14-0.
It was just the beginning.
Later in the first quarter, senior A.J. Burgess sprinted 22 yards for a TD on fourth-and-7. Devon Christie scored the 2-point conversion to make it 22-0.
“The offensive line was huge (today),” Parker said.
Parker added his second TD of the day minutes later on a counter up the middle.
“Will has a great burst of speed, but it all those guys up front,” Pierson said.
Backup quarterback Elliot Simon even got in on the scoring barrage. Simon hit Chris Schmidt on a 5-yard out pass for the TD and a 38-0 lead. Burgess closed out the first half scoring with another TD, this one coming from Cavanaugh on a 10-yard pass to send the game into the break 46-0.
Defense does its part
Often overlooked because of the Saints’ potent offense, the Vail Christian defense all did well on Saturday. The Saints not only held North Park scoreless, its second shutout of the season, but their stout defense set up the offense with excellent field position all game.
“The defense played solid,” Pierson said. “They get turnovers, and that’s what I love. They play hard. They do a great job. Our kids go both ways. That’s just the way it is at this level.”
Vail Christian’s big lead meant the clock ran continuously throughout the second half, quickly melting away the remaining time. Schmidt put on an exclamation point on the Saints’ big day with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown to account for the final 52-0 margin.
“I think the key was defense (today),” Parker said. “They really stepped up and held them. We have a lot of strong guys up on the line.”
Vail Christian has a bye next week before heading into the playoffs.
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