ERIE — What a difference a year makes?
One season ago the Erie Tigers traveled to the Western Slope to play an Eagle Valley team that gave them everything they could handle in a 21-20 ballgame that went the Tigers way.
On Friday night, Erie made quick work of their visitors from Gypsum, invoking the 40-point mercy rule midway through the first half and cruising to a impressive 41-6 victory over the Devils.
“It speaks to how our kids have grown,” said Erie coach Chad Cooper, whose team improved to 2-0 with Northridge waiting in the wings in Week 3. “We came out and we had a good week of practice, and I know it’s cliched, but we put ourselves in a position to be ready to play.”
Erie was impressive out of the gate against the undersized Devils (0-2), controlling the line of scrimmage and absolutely squandering anything Eagle Valley tried to do running the football.
On the offensive side, the Tigers were able to open up the playbook and experiment with some things and for the most part it worked.
Erie jumped out to a 28-0 lead after just one quarter. Dion Lucero had two touchdown passes — one to Jacob Mansdorfer and another to Alex Mathis — and running back Noah Roper scored on runs of 12 and 27 yards.
“You definitely get a lot out of a game like this and it is a lot more stressful at time just trying to get kids in that need to get in and kids are staying in the game,” Cooper said. “But more importantly it is making sure that from top to bottom that we do what we are supposed to do.”
The running clock took hold midway through the second quarter after Roper went in for his third TD from 13 yards out and then Preston Vanlandingham went in from 11.
The defense limited Eagle Valley, which graduated a huge number of seniors, to just 10 first-half yards from scrimmage on just 12 plays.
“We ran to the ball really well and I think we gave them some looks that they were really confused with,” Cooper said. “And that is going to be our goal this week, give them a little confusion and make us play fast.”
Roper finished with 81 yards on nine carries and Lucero was 7-for-8 for 158 yards.
ERIE 41, EAGLE VALLEY 6
At Erie Tiger Stadium
Eagle Valley (0-2)0006—6Erie (2-0)281300—41
Erie — Jacob Mansdorfer 6 pass from Dion Lucero (Julian Custine kick).
Erie — Noah Roper 12 run (Custine kick).
Erie — Alex Mathis 56 pass from Lucero (Custine kick).
Erie — Roper 27 run (Custine kick).
Erie — Roper 13 run (kick failed).
Erie — Preston Vanlandingham 11 run (Custine kick).
Eagle Valley — Zach Cossette 41 run (kick blocked).
RUSHING — Eagle Valley: Zach Cossette 12-63, Zach Carville 9-42, Kevin Carlson 2-9, Jake Cossette 1-7, Jesse Moser 5-(minus-6). Erie: Noah Roper 9-81, Preston Vanlandingham 5-51, Colby Wingfield 1-13, Jacob Mansdorfer 2-5, Jaden Gilmore 1-1.
PASSING — Eagle Valley: Moser 3-10-1-25. Erie: Lucero 7-8-0-158.
RECEIVING — Eagle Valley: Marcos Oseguera 1-11, Carslon 1-8, J. Cossette 1-6. Erie: Matheis 2-71, Isaac Khanna 2-38, Mansdorfer 2-25, Jaymeson Nelms 1-25.