Vail Valley football players named all-league
Saints lead the way
Vail Christian football had eight players named to the first-team, all-league team. Seeing as the Saints play 8-man football, that’s a pretty big accomplishment.
Vail Christian’s octet headlines the postseason honors on the football front.
Vail Christian football went 10-1 and swept the Northwestern League, and, thus, postseason honors are in order.
Quarterback Jamison Lee, fullback/linebacker Micah Sharpe and running-back/defensive-back Chris Cappel made all-league. This is about as surprising as the sun rising in the east every morning.
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Lee ran the show under center and was also one of the team’s leaders. We hear he might make the basketball team, as well. (We’re not so sure about Alec Moritz … kidding.)
Taking nothing away from what Sharpe and Cappel did offensively — which was a lot — these two really solidified the defense, which went from allowing 38 points per game in 2018 to 13 points per outing this fall. Sharpe helped the Saints dominate the line of scrimmage, and Cappel’s move from linebacker to defensive back was pivotal for the West Grand win.
The Nowickis made all-league. Senior Simon is no surprise. Sophomore Vinny is a bit of one as all-league teams tend to favor upperclassmen.
Wide-receiver Hayden Sticksel showed opponents just how fast he is, while tight-end/defensive back Andrew Stojkovich gave the Saints options aplenty.
Junior Slater O’Brien represents the offensive/defensive lines. If there is a beef with this year’s selection process, it’s a lack of beef for the Saints.
John Pavelich and Eddy Palacios were honorable-mention selections, but everybody above doesn’t do what they do without guys like O’Brien, Pavelich, and Palacios clearing the road.
The first thing that jumps out when looking at Eagle Valley’s all-league selections is that just two of the eight are seniors.
“As a coaching staff, we just don’t want to mess it up,” Devils coach Gabe Brown joked. “We’re already excited for next year.”
Matt Lee and George Smirl are the seniors. Lee will doubtless be remembered for his touchdown catch to beat Battle Mountain, but he also played defense and slammed the door on Steamboat Springs with a pick-six. Smirl, an honorable-mention pick, was a tight end so key to the Devils’ offense.
So coming back are:
• Will Geiman … Yes, the all-league quarterback is a sophomore.
• Tyler Morrison … Yes, the all-league strong safety is a junior.
• Lisandro Aguilar … All-league, a junior and he led the team in sacks and tackles.
• The Garcia twins … Abraham and Brian play both sides of the line and Brian kicks as well.
• Kodi Raper … One of the team’s leading rushers is a junior.
As far as Devils fans go, next season can’t come soon enough. In the meantime, coach Brown wants to see his boys spending the winter, wrestling, playing basketball or in the weight room.
Four losses by one score and injuries sent Battle Mountain to a 2-8 record.
Nonetheless, junior Anthony Sanchez and senior Spencer Goldberg represent the Huskies on the all-league team.
Sanchez played running back, cornerback, safety, kicked, returned kicks and did pretty much everything but clean out the stadium after the game.
Yes, he did fumble, setting up Eagle Valley’s game-winning drive during the rivalry game, but, as Huskies coach Jim Schuppler said, “We wouldn’t have been in that position to win without Anthony. He was huge for us. He works his butt off and we’re excited to have him back for another year.”
Goldberg was at wide receiver and outside-linebacker and played hurt.
“He was a leader,” Schuppler said. “He set the tone and he played every game despite having broken ribs after the Basalt game in Week 3.”
Battle Mountain’s honorable-mentions were Kai Haggen, Victor Ortiz, Kiah Gongaware and Jimmy Hancock.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.