Title Hunt: The 2009 Steamboat Sailors football team
Title Hunt: A recap of the Steamboat Sailors 2009 season and a preview of Saturday's state championship game
Valor game-by-game recap
■ Sept. 3: Valor 14, D’Evelyn 13
The Eagles trailed 13-7 at halftime, and picked up the victory on George Talanoa’s 1-yard touchdown run with 5:16 left in the game. Although early in the season, the game signaled a significant turning point for Valor.
■ Sept. 12: Valor 48, Alameda 7
Valor led 27-7 at halftime and scored 21 points in the third quarter to run away with the victory. Junior quarterback Brock Berglund had two rushing touchdowns to go along with his three passing scores.
■ Sept. 18: Valor 21, Conifer 6
Berglund threw three touchdown passes, and the Eagles defense dominated. Valor limited Conifer to 204 yards of offense. Tight end Blake Froistad caught three touchdowns, and the defense created three fumbles.
■ Sept. 25: Valor 42, Evergreen 14
Valor was dominant defensively, recovering two fumbles, picking off two passes and collecting six sacks. Berglund threw three touchdowns and ran for another.
■ Oct. 2: Valor 41, Centaurus 19
Centaurus led, 13-7, after the first quarter, and the game was tied at 13 at the half. Valor held a 20-19 lead going into the fourth quarter before erupting for 21 unanswered points. Berglund ran for two touchdowns, and Jared Ward, Talanoa and Matt Corral each had one.
■ Oct. 9: Valor 48, Skyview 0
It was complete Valor dominance. The Eagles held Skyview to 121 yards of offense and got touchdowns from six players.
■ Oct. 16: Valor 62, Englewood 0
It was over in a flash. The Eagles scored 35 first-quarter points and led 48-0 at halftime. The team limited Englewood to 137 yards of offense. Eleven Eagles rushed the ball and Valor blocked two punts — one of which was returned for a touchdown.
■ Oct. 23: Valor 21, Elizabeth 14
Valor controlled the game but had to wade through a late fourth-quarter charge from Elizabeth to hang on for the win. Ryan Nu’u’s 45-yard touchdown catch from Berglund midway through the third quarter proved to be the difference.
■ Oct. 31: Valor 59, Ridgeview Academy 12
Valor jumped out 28-0 in the first quarter and steamrolled Ridgeview Academy behind four touchdowns from Berglund. The Eagles were again good on special teams, blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown.
■ Nov. 6: Valor 22, D’Evelyn 20
In a game to decide the Metro League title and see who would get a top-four seed in the playoffs, Valor showed its depth. Even without Berglund or its top receiver and top running back, Valor was able to pull out the victory. The Eagles led just 15-13 in the fourth quarter when backup quarterback Michael Miller scampered in from 30 yards out to give Valor a 22-13 lead with 2:38 left.
■ First round, Nov. 13: Valor 45, Cañon City 13
Up just 12-7 at halftime, Valor outscored Cañon City, 20-6, in the third quarter and, 13-0, in the fourth quarter to run away with the win. Berglund had four rushing touchdowns, and freshman Cameron Gray had two.
■ Quarterfinals, Nov. 21: Valor 51,
Glenwood Springs 28
Berglund was magnificent in helping Valor build a 35-7 halftime lead. The junior was 21 of 30 for 380 yards and six touchdown passes. He also added a rushing touchdown. Nine receivers caught passes, with Stephen Miller and Froistad each going for more than 100 yards receiving.
■ Semifinals, Nov. 28: Valor 21, Mountain View 7
Valor’s defense limited Mountain View to 183 yards of offense, and the Eagles showed how complete a team they are. Gray returned a punt 40 yards for a touchdown. The freshman also scored one on the ground to go along with a Talanoa rushing touchdown.
Valor Christian season statistics
Valor Christian, Opponent
212, First Downs, 161
469-2,917, Rushes-Yards, 443-1,567
116-198-6, Comp-Att-Int, 120-268-15
2,268, Yards Passing, 1,468
5,185, Total Yards, 3,035
32-31.5, Punts-Avg., 68-29
27-13, Fumbles-lost, 31-20
93-876, Penalties-Yards, 64-519
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Valor Christian, 164-121-115-95—495
Brock Berglund 104-842, 13 TD; George Talanoa 82-435, 7 TD; Matt Corral 66-407, 1 TD; Jared Ward 49-349, 5 TD; Michael Miller 36-157, 4 TD; Ryan Nu’u 27-167; Cameron Gray 27-164, 4 TD; Ty Scott 13-69, 1 TD; Stanley Gilbert 2-6; Andrew Pint 5-10, 1 TD; Lelen Lang 5-28; Braxton Peats 12-151, 2 TD; Carzell Vickers 5-45; Carlos Aviles 4-49, 1 TD; Evan Mori 4-13; Michael Kortz 3-46; Jack Ramirez 2-4; Cody Thibault 1-30; Maxwell McCaffrey 1-18.
Berglund 100-170-4, 2,027 yards, 26 touchdowns; Michael Miller 12-18-2, 168 yards, 1 TD; Taylor Brown 1-1-0, 59 yards; Ramirez 3-6-0, 28 yards, Thibault 1-1-0, 4 yards.
Nu’u 13-376, 4 TD; Vickers 10-164, 1 TD; Sackett Keesen 12-133; Brown 13-317, 4 TD; Peats 2-30; Michael Miller 8-67, 1 TD; Preston Knight 1-4; McCaffrey 4-44, 2 TD; Stephen Miller 6-143, 1 TD; Cole Anderson 1-7; Ward 6-124, 3 TD; Lang 2-45; Talanoa 2-12, 1 TD; Gray 1-10; Corral 10-89; Blake Froistad 21-505, 9 TD.
Valor Christian High School football coach Brent Vieselmeyer doesn’t like to lie.
So when the second-year head coach talks about being in the state championship for the first time in school history, he tells people he’s as surprised as anyone. Especially considering how the team’s inaugural 2008 season went.
“We anticipated better,” Vieselmeyer said about the Eagle’s 4-6 record last year, its first season of varsity football.
But to go from a losing record in Year 1 to an undefeated season and state championship appearance in Year 2?
“To tell you (I thought) we’d be playing in the state championship game, I’d be lying to you,” he said.
But when Vieselmeyer looks at his team and the 13 victories that have come before Saturday’s state championship game with Steamboat Springs, it’s not hard for him to find where the season went right. As he tells it, it began much sooner than Week 1.
With a school that opened in Highlands Ranch in 2007, Vieselmeyer went into 2008’s maiden season with a group of mostly freshmen and sophomores.
“Last year we came in, and when we walked on the field, it looked like it was men among boys,” he said. “It was scary what we were going against.”
The Eagles, however, scratched out four wins, providing a catalyst for the 2009 campaign. Vieselmeyer said as a team, the Eagles decided in the offseason to dedicate themselves to improving. How much, he wasn’t sure.
But with Metro League bully D’Evelyn first up on the schedule this season, Vieselmeyer knew he’d find out quickly about his team.
D’Evelyn made the semifinals of the Class 3A playoffs in 2008 and beat Valor twice by a combined score of 98-14 that season.
But in Week 1, the Eagles beat the Jaguars, 14-13.
“I think it was a lot of the things,” said Rod Sherman, Valor athletic director and offensive coordinator. “There was leadership of the staff. Going from 4-6 to a position we are in this week shows Brent’s character, fortitude and leadership. I mean, as a defense coordinator, he never lost more than two games in a season in California. To go from last year’s season to here speaks volumes.”
From there, things just started to snowball.
The Eagles won their next six games by a score of 262-46. In Week 8, the team beat Elizabeth, 21-14, to remain perfect.
A 59-12 win against Ridgeview Academy set up another Week 10 showdown with D’Evelyn for the rights to the Metro League Championship and a guaranteed top-four seed in the playoffs.
This time, however, Valor would be at a distinct disadvantage. The Eagles would be without their starting quarterback, top running back and top wide receiver.
Valor took a 12-7 lead into halftime and a 15-7 lead into the fourth quarter. D’Evelyn cut it to 15-13 with 6 minutes, 46 seconds left. Backup quarterback Michael Miller scored on a 30-yard touchdown run to put the lead to 22-13. D’Evelyn added a touchdown with 1:16 left to cut it to 22-20, but that was all the Jaguars would get.
“We’ve had a great deal of injuries,” Vieselmeyer said. “It’s not an excuse, but I think those two D’Evelyn games were the biggest turning points for us as a team. It helped us realize we could play with anybody.”
That’s certainly been the case in the playoffs. But maybe more so, it’s that the Eagles have proven they can win in a multitude of ways.
The team’s offense was crucial in the first two rounds, helping Valor beat Cañon City, 45-13, and Glenwood Springs, 51-28.
In each win, junior quarterback Brock Berglund showed his versatility. Against Cañon City, Berglund passed for 109 yards and rushed for 223 and four touchdowns.
A week later against Glenwood, Berglund completed 21 of 30 passes for 380 yards and six touchdowns.
In the semifinals, Valor’s defense held Mountain View to 183 yards of total offense and got a punt return for a touchdown from freshman Cameron Gray.