Vail Christian upended by Longmont Christian
GYPSUM – You play the game you’ve got and the Vail Christian Saints used misdirection Saturday against the Longmont Christian Warriors.
Lots and lots of misdirection.
Vail Christian’s sophomore quarterback Austin Ellsworth may be THE big man in the Saints’ offense, but he’s not A big man in the Saints offense.
“We have a small quarterback, so we have to be creative,” said Vail Christian coach Tim Pierson.
Pierson calls bootlegs and rollout passes, counters, misdirections and all kinds of sleight of hand to give Ellsworth a chance to see his receivers and make a play.
Also, Longmont was bringing pressure up the middle and all that misdirection helped him stay alive to fight another day.
“He’s a good athlete, so we’ll roll him out to see what develops,” Pierson said.
It worked most of the time, as the Saints took another step forward. On the other hand, it didn’t work well enough to keep Longmont from beating the Saints 51-28.
Yes, scores matter. But preparation matters more and the Saints are now done with their nonconference slate and preparing for their league play, which starts Friday at home against Soroco.
“This is the toughest non-league schedule we’ve played in the school’s history,” Pierson said. “We played the No. 1 team in the state and this week we had Longmont, which was a playoff team last year.”
Dayspring Christian is actually No. 2 in the state, but the point’s well-taken. That’s a good thing, Pierson said, because their league is no cakewalk either.
“Our league is much improved with the addition of Soroco and West Grand,” Pierson said. “This will help us be prepared for it.”
Pierson saw some things they’ll continue, and some things the Saints hope they’ll never see again.
“We were able to run the ball better and that helped us sustain some drives,” Pierson said. “On defense, we missed some tackles and they had one of the state’s best running backs, so that combination was big for them.”
Vail Christian got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when Ellsworth connected with James Currey to march the Saints deep into Longmont territory. Vail Christian got on the scoreboard in the second quarter when Ellsworth connected with Currey to march the Saints deep into Longmont territory. A 25-yard run took the Saints all the way to the 1-yard line.
On the next play, Ellsworth took his only snap from under center for the entire game, diving into the end zone on quarterback keeper to cut the deficit to 21-6.
The Saints got back on the scoreboard when receiver Teller Emmer slipped to the left then outjumped two Longmont defensive backs to snag the 27-yard pass in the end zone to make it 34-12. Ellsworth and Granger Moch teamed up for a completion on a slant pattern to the back corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 34-14 score.
Longmont countered on the first play from scrimmage with an 80-yard run and a 41-14 halftime score.
Vail Christian found the end zone again in the third quarter when Moch pounded a 64-yard punt, burying Longmont at its own five.
On the Warriors’ first play, Brandon Currey intercepted a Longmont pass and the Saints were back in business from the front row.
A 3-yard Saints’ gain was followed by Ellsworth on a two-yard keeper around the right end for a touchdown and a 44-20 score.
With five minutes left, Ellsworth again found Emmer for a 68-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Ellsworth found Moch in the back of the end zone for the two point conversion to cut it to the 51-28 final.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.