With a slingshot, Saints head to Dayspring
EDWARDS — Despite the fact that Dayspring Christian is overwhelmingly favored, Vail Christian football will, in fact, make the trip to Greeley this weekend for Saturday’s state quarterfinal at 1 p.m.
During practice, Sug Ellsworth was surprisingly not curled up in the fetal position, murmuring, “Red-rum.”
In fact, the Saints are having a little fun.
“If it’s a buffet, I’m going to destroy that thing,” Cold Cuts said of Saturday’s game-day breakfast.
Cold Cuts is senior Max Schramm inspired by Ickey Woods’ Geico commercial. (Of course, none of the Saints were alive when the Bengals running back had his big season in 1988, but that’s not important right now.)
“I don’t know who he was, but he had some wicked moves,” Schramm said. “He was a running back.”
Yes, Schramm is bit of a ham — he even cited the Miracle on Ice game as precedent for an upset of Dayspring Christian — but there is something to be said for being loose.
“You’ve got to (be loose) this time of year,” Saints head coach Tim Pierson said. “The tenser you are, the worse you perform. You make plays. Sometimes, things will go your way. You’re playing a great team, and sometimes, they won’t go your way. They execute, too. Sometimes, you just put it behind you, and play the next play.”
Lessons from Merino
Vail Christian, 10-0 for the first time in school history, hopefully learned the lesson last week. We’re pretty sure that the Saints brain trust didn’t game-plan falling behind 14-0 to the Rams, but Vail Christian regrouped nicely to beat Merino, 38-34.
Last week’s win goes back to the humbling loss at Sargent in Round 1 of the playoffs last year. The Saints were tight, and got tighter as they fell behind, and that just snowballs.
“Last year helped us a lot,” Senior Clayton Davis said. “We were really nervous going into it. From experience from Sargent, we were able to get into a groove and it wasn’t hopeless.”
Expect Vail Christian to stay with its bread and butter — running the ball. Since the exchange of game film is required, Dayspring will know that quarterback Mike Lange can move and throw the ball if necessary.
Meet the Eagles
Dayspring’s last loss came on Nov. 3, 2012 — the Eagles lost to Granada, 32-27, in the first round of that year’s playoffs.
The Eagles and Saints played a home-and-home set during the regular seasons of 2010 and 2011. (Don’t ask about the scores.)
The common opponent with both teams is Merino — Dayspring won, 27-6.
The good news? The Eagles aren’t huge in the trenches. The bad news? Everyone’s quick. John Magruder, who replaced Kylar Mai at quarterback this year, has completed 70-of-119 passes for 1,323 yards and 18 touchdowns. Mai, at running back, has rushed for 1,715 yards.
These guys will have their moments. The key is limiting their big plays.
“We just have to match their speed,” Davis said. “They’re all fast. We have to be able to corral them and tackle them as a team.”
News and notes
Vail Christian leaves today at 1 p.m. with a stop in Longmont for a walk-through. … So that people don’t get too excited over Dayspring’s stats, Lange is 50-of-73 for 730 yards. Ellsworth, not surprisingly, leads the Saints in rushing with 1,418 yards. … Vail Christian’s water intake has already begun with the hope of avoiding cramps. While temps were crisp during practice on Wednesday, the forecast for Greeley on Saturday is sunny and a high of 63.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
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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.