Vail Valley preps recap for Saturday
COLBRAN – The kids are all right.
Vail Christian’s young football team started 2010 in fine fashion, bouncing Plateau Valley, 32-14, Saturday in Colbran.
And in a nice sign, the win was equal parts offense and defense. Sophomore quarterback Austin Ellsworth 12-of-18 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns, while the defense added two scores of its own with interception returns.
“It was huge to get a win on the road,” Saints coach Tim Pierson said. “Plateau Valley’s a good football team. They kept coming back against us. They moved the ball on us. It was closer than it looked.”
After scoreless first quarter, Ellsworth bootlegged and found fellow sophomore Mack Cooper for a 27-yard touchdown pass. Ellsworth to Teller Emmer for the conversion made it 8-0.
Those two hooked up for a 75-yard score later in the quarter, and with 2-pointer (this time to Granger Moch), the Saints went into halftime with a 16-8 lead.
The host Cowboys moved the ball well in the second half, but the Blue Crush seemed to have an answer when it mattered most. Nigel Johnson picked off a Plateau Valley pass and returned it 70 yards for a score. The second pick-six was a Currey family special. James Currey pounded the Cowboys quarterback as he released the ball and his brother Branden intercepted the pass and brought it back 90 yards to ice the win.
“I’m really proud of the these kids,” Pierson said. “They executed well on defense. They tacked well. They swarmed to the ball.”
Vail Christian gets a stiff test next week when they head to Greeley to take on No. 2-ranked Dayspring Christian. Merino, which ended the Saints’ season last year, and the Eagles are the class of 8-man football.
“Execute, execute, execute,” Pierson said. “We’re going to slow it down and look at some things on defense. It helps to see good teams to get ready for league.”
Huskies beat Moffat
AURORA – Battle Mountain boys cross country finished ninth at the season-opening meet at Aurora, the traditional race at the site of the state meet in October. Just in case anyone was wondering, Moffat County finished 10th.
And thus begins a season-long habit between the Huskies and Bulldogs until they hook up when it counts at regionals down in Cortez on Oct. 23.
In the meantime, the Huskies showed they can run with just about anyone. Senior David Shearon finished 10th in 17 minutes, 13 seconds with Mitch Walker right behind (17th, 17:37).
What was really good to see was Battle Mountain’s depth. David Suarez punched in at 44th (18:17). Under the weather a bit, Remsen Allard was still able to finish 123rd with a time of 19:36. Charlie Barry had a clutch run in 19:51 for 138th.
Depth was important because it was Suarez and Barry beating their opposite numbers with Moffat which provided the 6-pint win over said Bulldogs.
“It was fantastic, ” Huskies assistant coach Ryan Matthews said. “It gives us a great base to see where we’re at. For some of the kids it was a wake-up call. Other kids got to see that their offseason work was paying off.”
On the girls’ side, Amelia Ortiz is definitely ready for primetime. She finished in sixth with a 20:26, just 5 seconds behind last year’s state champ, Greeley Central’s Allie Parks.
Sydney Gaylord took 105th in 23:54. (As a reminder, there were 283 ladies competing in the 4A race alone. The pre-state meet is a huge one.) Mandy Ortiz came home in 121st (24:20), followed by Maddie Stevens (124th, 24:23) and Valeria Rivero (125th, 24:23).
“Definitely, this year is not just Amelia,” Matthews said. “We think it a realistic shot for the guys and girls to go to state. If you look at the places, yeah, there’s Amelia, but everyone else is running together. That could mean good things at the end of the season.”
Freshmen lead Devils
AURORA – Just when you think Eagle Valley cross country has a lot of young talent, the program just keeps getting more. It’s a nice problem to have.
Freshmen Maggie Gilman finished 89th (23:18), Nikki Cunning 109th (24:03) and Kira Quintana 118th (24:15). Veterans Kelly Cassidy (24:27) and Logan Kinser (26:05) rounded out the scoring.
“We are really young, but we’re only going to get better,” Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. “I’m really happy Maggie broke into the top 100. That’s impressive. Four of our varsity runners had never done a cross country race before. Kelly and Logan will show them the ropes.”
Junior Robbie Clark led the boys in 20-flat. Sophomores Caleb Krueger (20:17) and Hunter Burnham (20:28) were right behind. Senior Ben Muelethaler came home in 20:54 and Aaron Kline clocked a 21:46.
“The first race is the first time we get to check out the competition,” Brandt said. “They get to see how fast the other kids are, and that pushes our kids harder.”
With the first meet comes the first Hoss Awards of the year. Cunning was the girls’ winner. JV runner Gregg Salaz, who ran the fifth-fastest time of any Eagle Valley boy, won it for the guys.
Both the Huskies and Devils are at the Battle Mountain Invitational at Beaver Creek next week.
Saints open 2-1
COLBRAN – Vail Christian volleyball opened the year 2-1 at the Plateau Valley Tournament Saturday.
The Saints took the host Cowboys in three (25-23, 25-23, 25-20), Palisade’s JV in four (25-16, 23-25, 25-12, 25-17) before falling to Norwood, 25-20, 25-12, 25-21.
“We had spurts of greatness. We had had areas we need to work on,” Saints coach Cathy Alexander said. “We played for five-and-a-half hours and had three-straight matches. Overall, I was very pleased with the day. At our level, if you stay together as a team, you can beat a lot of people.”
The Saints have their home opener Friday at 7 p.m. against Rangely.
West Grand 61, South Park 14
Soroco 16, Springer (N.M.) 12
North Park 26, Rocky Moutain Lutheran 24
Kiowa 54, Gilpin County 28
Vail Christian 32, Plateau Valley 14
Justice 52, Faith Baptist 8
Palisade 30, Grand Junction Central 14
Battle Mountain 7, Summit County 0
Coal Ridge 27, Eagle Valley 0
Glenwood Springs 35, Basalt 6
Aspen 46, Moffat County 13
Rifle 20, Grand Valley 19
Delta 49, Gallup (N.M.), 0
Holy Family 37, Steamboat Springs 6