EDWARDS — Battle Mountain lacrosse coach Jerry Nichols might have a career waiting for him in meteorology.
He called it — when Summit County comes to town, the weather gets nasty.
It did snow during the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s Battle Mountain-Summit County game in Edwards, but the lacrosse thing seems to be working for Nichols and the Huskies. Battle Mountain bounced Summit, 12-1, to stay perfect on the season and set up a showdown on Saturday up in Steamboat Springs.
“Summit always seems to field quality players, and this team is not shy in quality players,” Nichols said. “The only thing I was disappointed in was that we took a few too many penalties. Our team needs to clean that up. That will be a good wake-up call for us. They played us very aggressively, and we responded. We got off to a bit of a slow start, but then the offense started clicking. We started running our offense and banging the ball around. The goals started finding the back of the net.”
There was a scary moment on Wednesday during the second quarter. Summit’s Wil Laidlaw went down with 9:30 left in the half, was tended to for a considerable period of time and taken off the field in a stretcher. It did appear to be a precautionary measure as Laidlaw was moving his arms and legs.
“It’s definitely hard,” Nichols said. “We’ve had some players who have been in that situation, so we were empathetic to that player. It’s always a concern. I hope he’s OK. They stayed warm.”
Cruising At Half
Battle Mountain was up only 2-0 at that point on goals by Wyatt Dilling and Crane McGuckin. The Huskies got cranking after the injury stoppage with a long goal from Noah Beairsto after Summit’s goalie got caught out of the net. Beairsto struck again, followed by Windham Miller twice and Mike Lange to make it 7-0 at the half.
While players like Dilling and McGuckin have been getting a lot of the glory by scoring, they don’t do what they do without the work of guys like Rio Garton. The senior co-captain earns his keep on faceoffs. If Garton wins them, everything else can go forward.
“Before we first start facing off, I figure out whether we want to go forward and get a fastbreak first or if I want to go between my legs and play it safe, going back to one of my players,” Garton said. “I like to mix it up.”
Mixing it up and getting off to quicker starts will be imperative on Saturday. After taking care of the preliminaries, Battle Mountain faces Steamboat Springs in a key league game. While Aspen may be supplanting Steamboat as the Mountain Conference’s overlord, the Huskies have never beaten the Sailors and that’s on the team’s “to-do” list.
“We’re gearing up for it,” Nichols said. “We’re trying to gear up our offense for it, our defense in line, our slide package in line. We have two more days of practice. We’re going to go hard and we’ll be ready for them.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.