EAGLE COUNTY — It was a really tough season for Battle Mountain football, but one can honestly say something good happened at the end of it.
After a lengthy petitioning process, Huskies football is moving down into Class 2A for the next two-year CHSAA cycle.
What the league will be called, either the 2A Western Slope or the Northwestern League, and who would make up the new circuit is still under debate, but there is no question that the Huskies desperately needed a change after going 0-20 the last two seasons as a 3A squad.
Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley will still play each other in 2014 and in years to come. It will simply be a nonconference game. Devils football coach John Ramunno said that the teams will meet during Week 2 of 2014.
The Huskies will also be playoff eligible under CHSAA’s wild-card points system for the 3A playoffs, although that scenario is unlikely for mathematical and competitive reasons.
Under CHSAA’s proposal, the Huskies would be in the Northwest League with Aspen, Basalt, Coal Ridge, Moffat County and Roaring Fork. The Western Slope has also proposed an eight-team circuit that includes the Huskies, the five aforementioned teams, and Gunnison and Olathe.
In either scenario, Battle Mountain will not be a world-beater. Gunnison, Olathe and Aspen all made the 2A state playoffs this fall. On the other hand, the Huskies face fewer games, when, honestly, they have absolutely no chance of winning — Palisade, Rifle, Delta and Glenwood Springs, to name a few.
The real mission here for Battle Mountain football is to build up numbers within the program, maybe get a few wins and build momentum for the future.
Saints change leagues
Vail Christian 8-man football is now in the I-25 League. Saints fans may be thinking, “Hey. We’re 100-plus miles from Interstate 25. What’s up?”
This would be a good time to remember the immortal line from the “Airplane” movies, “But that’s not important right now.”
The answer is that travel in what is the newly-realigned Western Slope would be more than being in a Denver/Colorado Springs league. (Nucla and Norwood are joining Hayden, Plateau Valley, Rangely and Soroco.)
So the Saints will play Elbert, Gilpin County, Justice, Longmont Christian, Nederland, Rocky Mountain Lutheran, West Grand and Pikes Peak Christian. If you’re one of Vail Christian math teacher Doug Bruce’s pupils, you’ll know that adds up to eight, meaning the Saints will play their entire regular season within the league.
Saints coach Tim Pierson said he was frustrated that Vail Christian had built up good rivalries with teams in the old Slope, particularly Soroco and Hayden, but, on the other hand, embraces the challenge.
Devils: 3A gets new look
The 3A Slope also has its fair share of comings and goings.
Battle Mountain, Moffat County and Montezuma-Cortez are all going down to 2A. Cortez will be joining the 2A Southwest League.
Meanwhile, joining the 3A Slope are Summit County and Grand Junction Central. (You will be quizzed on all of this later.)
Summit is making its Slope membership complete. (The Tigers are in the league for all other sports.) Meanwhile, Central was 5-35 in the 4A/5A Southwest League the last four years. That record allows the Warriors to play down for the next two-year cycle.
That leaves the Devils with seven conference games. Ramunno has said that he is rounding out the slate with Vista PEAK, Battle Mountain and Basalt.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.