Vail Christian Saints beat Falcons, get first league win
Vail Christian football
Falcons 0 6 0 8 — 14
Saints 0 0 8 8 — 16
F – Braden Wehr, 1 run, (pass failed), 1:37
V – Tom Engleby, 23 run (pass good). 7:01
F – Josh Lang, 16 run, (run good), 6:46
V – Engleby, 4 run (pass good), 3:23
EDWARDS — In a completely inconsequential game, Vail Christian football may have recorded its most consequential win in three seasons.
The Saints rallied late to surge past Front Range Christian, 16-14, on Saturday, Oct. 21, at Battle Mountain for their first Foothills League win in school history.
So, after taking a pounding the last two years as Vail Christian has moved from 8-man to 11-man football, it was only appropriate that the seniors led the way to a Senior Day victory over the Falcons.
“It feels really good to get a win,” senior quarterback Tom Engleby said. “We’ve been playing hard all season, but we’ve been beating ourselves. We finally didn’t make as many mistakes and played together.”
Given all the Class of 2018 had been through, this is Vail Christian’s biggest win since beating Merino in the 8-man state playoffs back in 2014.
The moments that mattered
• Down 6-0 during the third quarter, Front Ranged punted at midfield. The kick appeared to touch a Saints player and be recovered by the Falcons. However, Vail Christian got the ball, and seized the momentum.
Engleby completed passes to Tracy Prindiville and Jack Powers before running the final 23 yards himself. On the ensuing 2-point conversion, the Saints played the tip drill with Gonzalez catching the ball off a Falcons’ deflection for an 8-6 lead.
• Front Range appeared to be driving for the go-ahead score, when the defense made its stand. Front Range had first-and-goal on the Saints’ 9. The Falcons got no closer.
Davis Hermes was in on two big hits and the Blue Crush turned the Falcons away on downs.
“The goal-line stand, I don’t know how to describe it,” Hermes said. “We just all came together. We knew we weren’t going to take this loss. Like Tom said, we’d worked hard all season. We knew we could hold them.”
• That stop loomed larger as the Falcons took the lead 14-8 midway through the fourth quarter. The Saints mounted a 10-play drive to win the game.
The big play on that march was a 40-yard Engleby run. That was actually a pass play, but with the Falcons playing deep, the quarterback tucked it and took off.
“The line played phenomenal today,” Engleby said. “Best of the season.”
Vail Christian converted a fourth-and-6 from the Front Range 27. Engleby ran for the yards, but fumbled at the end of the run. Prindivlle had the heads-up play to fall on the ball.
Jake Nowicki brought the Saints the doorstep with a 16-yard rumble. Engleby finished it. Just as importantly, he hooked up with Prindiville for the 2-pointer.
Defensive first half
The Saints ended two Falcons’ drives with interceptions (Chris Cappel and Simon Nowicki).
Front Range got untracked late in the second quarter, mostly on the ground. With C.J. Hoff and Josh Lang. Falcons quarterback Braden Wehr punched it in from 1 yard with 1:37 left in the half for a 6-0 lead.
At halftime, the Saints honored the seniors — Joseph Emmer, Engleby, Ethan Kuhns, Prindiville, Gonzalez, Jake Nowicki, Caleb Sharpe, Hermes and Jimmy Pavelich.
“The seniors have been awesome,” Saints coach Tim Pierson said. “It’s a good group of kids. I love their heart, how hard they play. You look at how many kids are applying to the service academies. It speaks to the type of kids they are — others above self.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934.
, email@example.com and @cfreud.