Vail Christian runs past Norwood, 40-14 |

Vail Christian runs past Norwood, 40-14

Chris Cappel and Vail Christian football head to Greeley on Saturday to take on Dayspring Christian in the state quarterfinals.
Mort Mulliken | Daily file photo

EDWARDS — When you meet him, Vail Christian football coach Tim Pierson does not give the impression of being a wild and crazy guy.

The longest-tenured football coach in the valley — this is his 16th year leading the Saints — at first glance is a quiet guy who speaks in coach cliché.

But Pierson does have a wild side. The man will go for it on fourth down. Way back in 2004, in his first game as a coach, he had then-quarterback Jonathan Armstead run on fourth-and-4 from the Saints’ 16. Armstead went for 84 yards and the winning touchdown.

Flash forward to 2019: The Saints had a fourth-and-2 from their own 49 on their first possession Friday night against Norwood in Edwards. Of course, Vail Christian goes for it.

“We felt we could get two yards,” Pierson said. “It’s a style of play we’ve committed to, and we’ve challenged the guys, ‘Hey, if we need 2 yards, we’re going to get two yards.’”

Chris Cappel rumbled for 51 yards and the opening score in the Saints’ 40-14 win over the Mavericks to move to 2-0 on the young season.

“We go for it every time,” Cappel said. “I just wanted to do my part for the team. If I can pick up the first down, I pick up the first down. If I can get the touchdown, I get the touchdown.”

After Norwood answered with a score on its first possession, it looked like the Saints would be in for a repeat of last year’s ridiculous Soroco game, which Vail Christian won 74-66, but the Vail Christian defense settled in. Micah Sharpe stopped the Mavericks’ 2-point attempt.

Meanwhile, the Saints needed only three plays, capped by Simon Nowicki racing 61 yards, to make it 14-6.

Nowicki and Sharpe snuffed out a promising Norwood drive with consecutive sacks. That eventually set up a Jamison Lee shovel pass for 39 yards to Nowicki for six more points.

In the second quarter, penalties backed the Saints up to their own 3-yard line. No matter. Cappel and Sharpe moved Vail Christian out of the shadow of its goalposts. Nowicki ripped off another 50-yard scamper. Lee called his own number for 8 yards and a trip to the house.

Nowicki capped the first half with a 2-yard scoring run and an interception for a 34-6 halftime lead.

“We came out. We played well,” Pierson said. “We’ve got to clean some penalties up. They played hard and I’m proud of them.”

Not to be left out, Vinny Nowicki started the second half with a big tackle for loss as Norwood was driving. Eddie Palacio stopped that surge with a fumble recovery.

The Saints start Western Slope play next week with a stiff test against Rangely. That game will be at Eagle Valley and is also Vail Christian’s homecoming.

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