The highly challenging nonleague schedule for Mullen football continued on Friday night, when the Mustangs were easily handled by top-ranked Valor Christian 42-7 in nonleague.
At another crowded Brother Bernard Kinneavy Field at De La Salle Stadium, the Mustangs dropped to 1-3. Valor Christian, also the 2020 Colorado runner-up in Class 5A, sits atop big schools at 4-0.
“It was a big stage against the No. 1 team in the state and we have to overcome that,” Mustangs head coach Jeremy Bennett said. “We have to play to our ability. We weren’t afraid; we just weren’t doing the things we need to do to be successful.
“We talked as a staff that we had to play close to perfect and (the Eagles) needed to make some mistakes, and we didn’t do it.”
Mullen was game early, stopping the quick-paced Eagles on a couple of drives, but it suffered a couple of turnovers that led to trouble. Valor took advantage, scored twice in each of the first three quarters and had the Mustangs under the mercy rule (a running clock after a 40-point advantage) with 5:34 to play in the third.
The Eagles were superior up front and Mullen had no answers for touted running back Gavin Sawchuk, who went for four touchdowns. Valor also threw for two TDs and a couple of long completions set it up nicely.
Sophomore Blake Palladino’s 1-yard rush late averted the shutout for the Mustangs.
Bennett remains realistic as well as hopeful – his team’s three losses are to 5A’s Nos. 1, 6 (Regis Jesuit) and 10 (Cherokee Trail) teams. Eaglecrest (1-3) is the Mustangs’ next foe, Friday, Sept. 24, home, kickoff at 7 p.m.
“We’ll get back to the drawing board and try to get out of (nonleague) at 2-3,” the coach said. “This was a brutal schedule and a couple of our kids get banged up, but other than that, we’ll get ready for Eaglecrest.”
VALOR CHRISTIAN 42, MULLEN 7
Valor Christian 14 14 14 0 – 42
Mullen 0 0 0 7 – 7
VC – Gavin Sawchuk 5 run (Jeremy Claycamp kick), 8:22.
VC – Gavin Sawchuk 45 run (Jeremy Claycamp kick), 3:56.
VC – Grant Simmons 14 pass from Colton Allen (Jeremy Claycamp kick), 7:49.
VC – Gavin Sawchuk 5 run (Jeremy Claycamp kick), 1:37.
VC – Keenan Proctor 47 pass from Colton Allen (Jeremy Claycamp kick), 9:47.
VC – Gavin Sawchuk 20 run (Jeremy Claycamp kick), 5:34.
M – Blake Palladino 1 run (Bryce Sohayda kick), 2:31.
The Mustangs continue to dominate on the pitch.
They rolled visiting Salida 8-0 in nonleague on Friday to improve to 8-0. And the Class 4A top-ranked team has now outscored its opposition by an aggregate 50-1.
On Friday, Andrew DeBerardinis went for a hat trick. He was joined in scoring by Bryce Sohayda, Andrew McGrath, Eli Kerschen, Ethan Lehman and Alex Evans.
Kerschen added two assists. Jack Sargent, Jaycee Campos, Jorge Valdes, Leo Aguilar and Nolan Cooper contributed solo helpers.
The Mustangs will be idle for 11 days, when they will begin their Centennial League schedule, Sept. 28, at Grandview in Aurora, 6 p.m.
MULLEN 8, SALIDA 0
Salida – 0
Mullen – 8
Mullen goals – Andrew DeBerardinis 3, Bryce Sohayda, Andrew McGrath, Eli Kerschen, Ethan Lehman, Alex Evans.
Mullen assists – Eli Kerschen 2, Jack Sargent, Jaycee Campos, Jorge Valdes, Leo Aguilar, Nolan Cooper.
At the Arvada West Durden Invitational on Friday in Arvada, the Mustangs enjoyed team and individual highlights.
As teams, Mullen was third in boys and second in girls.
It was even better from solo standpoints – Jack Tolbert finished first and Amy O’Connell was second.
“It was a big day,” Mustangs head coach Joe Welling said.
Tolbert won in 16 minutes, 32.7 seconds. He was followed by: 9. Jacob Sushinsky, 17:20.5; 14. Owen McCarter, 17:44.4; 15. Travis Hockin, 17:45.7; and 30. Mason Atwell.
O’Connell ran 19:16.7, less than 11 seconds behind the winner. She was supported by: 5. Elisa Brear, 20:12.6; 7. Julia Brown, 20:22.4; 8. Kira Van der Steen, 20:23.2; and 26. Alicia Muller, 21:53.4.
Mullen will be running again on Sept. 24, when it will participate in the Dave Sanders Memorial at Clement Park in Littleton.
ARVADA WEST DURDEN INVITATIONAL
At Stenger Soccer Complex
Team – Third.
Individuals – 1. Jack Tolbert, 16 minutes, 32.7 seconds; 9. Jacob Sushinsky, 17:20.5; 14. Owen McCarter, 17:44.4; 15. Travis Hockin, 17:45.7; 30. Mason Atwell.
Team – Second.
Individuals – Amy O’Connell, 19:16.7; 5. Elisa Brear, 20:12.6; 7. Julia Brown, 20:22.4; 8. Kira Van der Steen, 20:23.2; 26. Alicia Muller, 21:53.4.
The Mustangs ran into a good Smoky Hill team, ranked No. 7 in Class 5A, in losing 11-0 in five innings in Aurora.
Mullen dropped to 7-6 overall, 0-2 in league. The Buffaloes are 11-3, 2-1.
Limited to just four hits, all singles, Mullen struggled offensively. It also was guilty of six errors.
Senior Bella Aragon had two of Mullen’s hits. Ona Medina and Cara Newman also singled.
Medina took the loss in the circle.
The Mustangs will host Eaglecrest in league on Saturday, Sept. 18, first pitch at 11 a.m.
SMOKY HILL 11, MULLEN 0, 5 inn.
Mullen 000 00 -- 0 4 6
Smoky Hill 107 3x -- 11 11 0
Mullen – Aragon cf 3-0-2-0, Stewart c 2 0-0-0, Brady ss 2-0-0-0, Medina p 2-0-1-0, Walters 2b 2-0-0-0, Margeson rf 2-0-0-0, Hurtado 3b 2-0-0-0, Newman 1b 1-0-1-0, Holz lf 1-0-0-0, Martinez ph 1-0-0-0. Totals 18-0-4-0.
LOB – 4.
Pitching -- Medina (L) 4 IP, 11 H, 11 R, 7 ER, 0 BB 2 K’s.
Without its full complement of players, Mullen still finished eighth as a team in the Summit County Keystone Ranch Invitational on Thursday.
In the team’s traditional ending to the regular season, Mullen totaled 264. Winner was Arapahoe with 214.
Individually, senior Brodie Reister shot a 12-over-par 84 for Mullen. Jack Newton was a stroke back at 85. Nick Good (95) and John Yoder (109) also competed.
The Mustangs await the beginning of postseason. They will play in the Class 4A regional at The Links at Cobble Creek in Montrose on Sept. 21 against Battle Mountain, Central (G.J.), Denver North, Denver South, Durango, Thomas Jefferson, Montrose, Northfield, Palisade, Rifle, Steamboat Springs, Summit and George Washington.
There will be 84 qualifiers for the state tournament on Oct. 4-5 at City Park G.C. in Denver. Twenty-one from each of the four regionals will advance – two full teams and 13 individuals not on a qualifying team. The fourth individual on a qualifying team must be within 10 strokes of the last individual qualifier not on one of the teams that advanced.
SUMMIT COUNTY KEYSTONE RANCH INVITATIONAL
At The Ranch Course
Team scores – Arapahoe 215; Denver North 237; Summit 240; Eagle Valley 242; Vali Mountain 243; Moffat County 256; Steamboat Springs 257; Mullen 264; Battle Mountain 276; Coal Ridge 343.
Mullen individuals – 21. (tie) Brodie Reister, 84; 23. (tie) Jack Newton 85; 42. Nick Good, 95; 62. John Yoder, 109.