No. 1 Paonia opened defense of its third straight 1A state championship on the road last Friday night at No. 7 Monte Vista.
The Eagles won the game 21-7 behind Player of the Year Taylor Walters and a stingy effort from its young defense.
Walters ran for 119 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns to lead the Eagles, who scored a touchdown in each of the first three quarters to pull ahead for good.
Senior Colby Simpson made his presence felt, kicking three extra points and scoring Paonia's third touchdown on a punt return.
The defense, featuring four new linemen up front, was stout in a shutout effort. Monte Vista's only score came from an interception returned for a touchdown.
Paonia has its home opener on Friday night against Ignacio. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Paonia Town Park.