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Eagle Valley shocks Steamboat

Mike Medsker fends off a host of Steamboat Springs defenders during Eagle Valley's 16-6 victory over the Sailors.
John F. Russell

— Being one of the top teams in Class 3A, Steamboat Springs coach Aaron Finch knew each week that the Sailors would take their opponents’ best punch.

On Friday night, Eagle Valley not only delivered that punch, but it also delivered Steamboat a knockout.

The Devils gave Steamboat (3-1, 1-1 in the Western Slope) its first loss of the season with a 16-6 win at Gardner Field.



“We worked hard this week, and a lot of kids were saying, ‘Boy, we can’t wait to play Steamboat this week,'” Eagle Valley coach John Ramunno said. “We lost to them in the playoffs last year, and we might be playing them again down the road. I thought our kids showed up and played really hard.”

From the get-go, the Sailors struggled to move the ball against the stingy Devil defense (1-2, 1-0). On the Sailors’ first play of the game, they fumbled. The rest of the first half, they had three three-and-outs, another fumble and only one first down.



Finch said the blame lies with him. “We didn’t get them ready,” Finch said. “Whatever it was that we needed to do to prepare for this game, as a head coach, I didn’t make it happen.”

Steamboat’s defense had to spend most of the game on the field. Eagle Valley was able to milk the clock and put sustained drives together, something the Sailors couldn’t do. The Sailors had only three first downs and ran 37 plays to Eagle Valley’s 62.

“I can’t say enough good things about what coach Ramunno had done,” Finch said. “From the team that we saw play Summit to this team here, he’s made so much improvement to those guys.”

Eagle Valley got on the board first in the second quarter, when Jason Mirelez hit a 31-yard field goal to put the Devils up, 3-0, going into halftime. The play was set up by Alex Dorothy’s 56-yard run.

Coming out in the second half, Steamboat struggled to find a rhythm. Eagle Valley, on the other hand, had success running the ball with quarterback Mike Medsker.

In the fourth quarter, Medsker scored from 1 yard out to give the Devils a 10-0 lead. After Steamboat turned the ball over on downs, Medsker got his second touchdown of the night, this one from 27 yards out. The Sailors added a late touchdown when Stillwell hooked up with Westin Cofer for 50-yard score. After the onside kick went out of bounds, Eagle Valley had to take only two knees for the win.

“We definitely didn’t play like we could have,” Stillwell said. “Whether it was the first game at home with a full school day or something else, we just didn’t come ready.”

For Medsker, Friday night’s game was one he circled when he got the schedule before the season.

“We were just looking for a chance to prove something,” Medsker said. “We lost a couple of close games and hadn’t played our best. Tonight, we just wanted to come out and play as good as we could.”

With a bye week coming up for the Sailors, Finch said the week will give the Sailors time to heal up and re-evaluate schemes offensively and defensively.

“We need to get much better,” Finch said. “Can we get better? Absolutely.”


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