It was a weekend full of victories for West Grand High School as the football and volleyball teams prevailed in games played on Friday and Saturday.
The volleyball team outlasted Plateau Valley on the road on Friday and traveled back on Saturday to dominate SoRoCo in a home contest. The football team defeated South Park, 50-0, in a game in which the Mustangs rode a dominating defense and a balanced offense to the team's second win of the season.
In the contest at Plateau Valley, the varsity rode a roller coaster in terms of errors and energy, Coach Elizabeth Bauer said.
"We did pick up our game in order to finish the Cowboys in five matches," she added. "It was a good win for us, especially knowing that we could come back and finish when we needed to."
The C-team faced an older and more experienced DeBeque team while the junior varsity faced the aggressive Plateau Valley junior varsity. Both teams lost their match in two games.
Back home on Saturday, the Mustangs hosted the SoRoCo Rams. All three levels played well, Bauer said, and improved on their level of play from the previous night. The C-team players continue to improve their skills and knowledge of the game, Bauer continued, and even in defeat played one of their better games this season. The junior varsity also came together and ended up winning in three games.
The varsity players came out with focus and "fire in their eyes," Coach Bauer said, and beat SoRoCo easily in three games.
"Our play all around was great," Bauer said. "We passed, set and hit very well. Our hitters and setters connected in a fast-paced offense, which fed the Mustangs' desire to continue to play at a high level. It all started with our solid passing, though. I was very proud of how out team played together this weekend."
The next volleyball action this season is Saturday, Oct. 6, at Vail Mountain.
The Mustang football team came flying out of the starting blocks against the Burros of South Park and scored touchdowns on five of its six first half touchdown possessions to build a 36-0 lead at halftime.
West Grand tacked on two more scores in the second half for the final 50-0 advantage. The Mustangs gained 395 yards of total offense and held South Park to 58 yards of offense, including a negative 30 yards on the ground.
West Grand took the opening kickoff and moved quickly down the field on a six play, 61-yard drive that was culminated when Nick Ritschard ran it in from the South Park 2 yard line. He then threw a short pass to Casey Gore for the successful PAT and an 8-0 lead.
The defense held South Park to two yards to force a punt and the Mustang attack was on the move again. Ritschard connected with Kiley O'Brien for a 31-yard touchdown pass.
The Burros were able to get the ball on a fourth-down stop, but they were unable to capitalize.
Ritschard connected again with O'Brien, this time from 38 yards, and Jeremiah Elliott caught a short pass for the PAT and a 22-0 lead.
A 24-yard pass to O'Brien set up a touchdown run of one-yard by Leo Pesch for a 28-0 lead. Ritschard found O'Brien again for a touchdown, this time from 10 yards. Ritschard connected with Gore for the PAT and the 36-0 halftime lead was secured.
The Mustang defense played well against the Burros, earning its first shutout of the season. The effort was led by defensive tackles Javier Castillo and Casey Rose, defensive ends Derrin Weaver and Dillon Willson, linebacker Reno Davidson and a defensive backfield of Pesch, Ritschard and Gore.
In the second half, Gore scored on a 30-yard run and Cole Tracy scored on a six-yard run as the sophomore quarterback directed the Mustang junior varsity offense on a lengthy drive. With a running clock after the Gore touchdown, game time elapsed quickly.
O'Brien had a sterling day as a receiver as he caught four passes for 103 yards and three touchdowns. Elliott caught four passes for 33 yards and scored two PATS. Ritschard, in his first year as varsity quarterback, had his most effective day passing the ball as he connected on 12 of 18 passes for 155 yards, three touchdowns and three successful PAT passes.
In addition to the 128 yards on 18 carries by Ritschard, Gore added 57 yards on four carries and Pesch gained 55 yards on eight carries. That trio also accounted for a touchdown apiece on the ground.
The Mustangs improved their record to 2-3, including a 2-0 mark in Western Slope League play. West Grand is tied for the league lead with Hayden and Vail Christian, the next two opponents for the Mustangs.
West Grand travels to Hayden this Friday night and then hosts Vail Christian the following Friday (Oct. 12) before ending its regular season on Oct. 19 with a home game against Soroco.