Grand Valley gets into the game
PARACHUTE – Outside the Toby LeBorgne Stadium at Grand Valley High School, Trenten Sudick and friends are playing a game of pickup football.Sudick’s face is painted.Red on one side.Black on the other.On this cool Saturday afternoon, Sudick’s favorite prep team is competing in its first state championship playoff game since 1999. The GVHS Cardinals are playing the Wray Eagles.Sudick may one day play GVHS football, too. For now, the Bea Underwood Elementary School fifth-grader practices with his friends.And he takes breaks to watch a few plays from the stands.
“I try to come to all the home games,” said Sudick, of Battlement Mesa.On the football field, players wearing red and black collide with opponents in white and purple. The sky spits sporadic drops of rain as GVHS fans scream and stomp their feet on the metal bleachers.A teenager walks by with striped socks pulled up to her knees.One sock is red with black stripes.The other is black with red stripes.From babies to grandmothers, GVHS fans of all ages fill the stands. One little blond-headed boy sticks his fingers in his ears to block the loud cheers from the crowd.Someone screams “Let’s go Red!” as the teams face off on the 10-yard line. Red and black pompoms shake in the air. A player on the sidelines removes his helmet to reveal his dark hair painted crimson.
The excitement in the Toby LeBorgne Stadium is contagious. After all, this game has been seven years in the making.”I was walking with one player and he said, ‘This is the biggest game of his life,'” GVHS senior Shelly Hoffman said. “Everybody’s gone crazy with face painting and stuff.”This was one spirited game from the start.LeBorgne, for whom the stadium is named, arranged for truck drivers from Anchor Drilling, which he manages, to honk their horns along Interstate 70 just before kickoff. Later, a train passing by the field blew its whistle.”Everybody’s so psyched, just so excited to see our school in the playoffs,” Hoffman said.A few hours later, the mood had changed.With a few remaining minutes on the clock, the scoreboard read like a Greek tragedy.
Home 7.Visitors 18.”I’m going to cry if I stay,” said one woman in the GVHS stands making a quick exit. “And I’m not going to cry.”To the heartbreak of fans and players, the Cardinals’ playoff run was short-lived. The Eagles advance to the second round, while the five Cardinal seniors kneel for their last prayer on the GVHS football field.”They put a lot of heart and soul into this season,” said Dani Christensen, mother of GVHS assistant coach Cole Christensen. “They did well. I’m really proud of them.” Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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