Branden Vigil, pictured in a game against Vail Christian last season, scored 14 points in the third quarter against Roosevelt last night.
Chris Dillmann / Vail Daily

Bill Belichick would have been impressed with Eagle Valley’s approach to Thursday night’s game against Roosevelt. While head coach Justin Brandt’s scouting report didn’t include deflating match balls, it did take into account some nondescript components. In choosing their defense, the Devils considered not only their opponents’ gunfights, but also the length of the school’s football season. It manifested itself in the infrequent implementation of a 1-3-1 sticky press and ultimately resulted in a 73:51 victory at Steamboat Springs, the first of three games for the Devils over the next three days.

“It was a great game – a great victory,” said Brandt.

Knowing that Roosevelt’s successful – and therefore long – football season was preventing many of his players from working out the kinks of their hardwood plans, Brandt decided to challenge the Roughriders’ full composure and demeanor.

“I wanted to throw something else at them somehow,” says Brandt of the defensive game plan, which is unconventional for his team.

The application of effective pressure enforced Roosevelt turnover and resulted in lightweight Eagle Valley buckets throughout the competition. Senior Guard Erich Petersen used his lanky six-foot-tall body to occupy the critical point of the press and lead the Devils to an early 18-4 lead.

“He played phenomenally – super aggressive,” said the coach of Petersen. Brandt noted it wasn’t their basic defense, but the 1-3-1 was a good personnel strategy against a Roosevelt squad who were struggling to consistently bond from the field.

“It was a good night to try it out,” he said of the aggressive pace change weapon in the Eagle Valley arsenal. “We drove it in training all summer,” he said.

In their first game of the year against Northridge, the Devils overcame a bad night of shooting with great defense and selfless play. Last night they shot better and still shared the rock. The maturity of Junior Branden Villalobos was the constant in both games.

“He was a great moderator for us. He’s just very wise, ”praised the coach. “In our first game he was our goalscorer and this game he was our moderator.” Villalobos had nine assists.

The person who put the ball in the basket, especially in the second half, was Senior Guard Branden Vigil. When Roosevelt tried to gain momentum at the beginning of the second half, Vigil erased it, struck off three 3-point points and scored 14 points in the third quarter alone.

“He just took over the game for eight minutes and really set the tone for us, that was great,” said Brandt.

Nikko von Stralendorff added four 3-points for 20 of his own to lead the team in the points standings.

The Devils are playing at the Colorado Academy at 3 p.m. on Friday.They should be playing Niwot, but the Cougars have been forced to pull out at the last minute due to COVID protocols.