Roaring Fork unseats Devils
GSPI Sports Editor
CARBONDALE – Friday’s Roaring Fork-Eagle Valley contest was billed as one of the weekend’s top matchups on the Western Slope.
Thanks to a superb effort in nearly every facet of the game, the Rams blew out two-time defending league champion Eagle Valley 48-12 to claim its first Class 2A Western Slope football title since 2000.
“We know they have it in them but we don’t always see it,” Roaring Fork head coach Tory Jensen said. “(Friday) we saw it. In every phase of the game we did extremely well. It was a complete team effort.”
The team effort was never more apparent than in the Rams’ 27-point second quarter.
Leading 7-0, senior Max Green gave Roaring Fork (6-0 WSC, 8-0 overall) a cushion with a 64-yard scoring dash down the left sideline for his first of three touchdowns in the quarter.
On the ensuing Devils possession, senior Dan Markoya recovered a Jerad Schlegal fumble at the Roaring Fork 35-yard line. Two plays later Markoya hit Green on an out pattern that Green took 66 yards for a 20-0 lead with 5:23 left in the half.
Eagle Valley (5-1, 6-2) lasted four plays before another fumble in the backfield. Roaring Fork’s Tommy Joiner gathered the ball up and returned untouched 54 yards for a 27-0 lead with 2:51 left.
The Devils finally got on the board in what looked like a sure Ram interception. Roaring Fork’s Aaron Markham had position on a deep Sean Bartlett pass, but the ball slipped through Markham’s hands and into those of Nathaniel Gallegos for a 74-yard touchdown with 1:08 left in the half.
Not to be outdone, the Rams then went 77 yards in 48 seconds. Green turned a Markoya pass in the flat into a 13-yard touchdown for a 34-6 advantage at the half.
Markoya finished 8-for-11 for 175 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also had 30 yards rushing, a fumble recovery and an interception.
“My linemen were the key to this game,” Markoya said. “They blocked perfectly for me. I didn’t get hit once when I was throwing.”
Green tallied 64 yards rushing, and 114 yards receiving on the night.
Rams running back James Leonard scored his second touchdown of the game on the first drive of the second half, and Ryan Donnelly rounded out the Rams scoring with a 7-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Leonard finished with 111 yards, well below his average of 176 per game, but his presence alone impacted the game. The Eagle Valley safeties opened the game with its safeties essentially acting as linebackers, leaving the passing game open.
“We knew other people would have to make plays,” Green said. “And we have a lot of other weapons.”
“We used James a ton this season because we could,” Jensen said. “But we’ve got some other kids who can get it done.”
The Roaring Fork defense held Eagle Valley – which had scored 28 points or more in all but one of its games – to 275 yards of offense, while the Rams amassed 446 yards.
The Rams wrap up their regular season Friday with a home contest against Cedaredge. Eagle Valley’s final regular-season game is Friday against Aspen.
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Needing a win to remain in 3A state playoff contention, Moffat County had to get past the visiting Roaring Fork Rams of Carbondale Tuesday night.