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Huskies football makes it two in a row

EDWARDS — What in the wild, wild world of sports is going on here?

Battle Mountain football is carrying a heap of momentum going into next week’s Eagle County Bowl against Eagle Valley. The Huskies are riding a two-game winning streak into next week’s season finale after thrashing Green Mountain, 29-15, on Friday night.

This comes on the heels of a 41-0 whitewashing of 4A Liberty last week.

Simply put, Battle Mountain looked good Friday night. Presumably, in honor of playing Eagle Valley next week, the Huskies were extremely efficient offensively out of the double-wing and laid the pads on the defense. The game plan was solid, and the players executed.

In short, the Huskies looked like a football team. That may sound condescending, but the learning curve the past two weeks has been nothing short of astonishing. Were it not for the chilly nights, Huskies fans would probably like to see this season go into December the way their team is playing.

On a more serious note, just look at how this team has progressed in its home games this season — a 42-0 loss to 5A Ralston Valley, a 41-14 loss to Evergreen and a 29-15 win Friday night.

Battle Mountain’s defense greets Green Mountain. The Huskies were stout on on both sides of the ball in a 29-15 win. (Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com)
Battle Mountain defenders stop Green Mountain Friday in Edwards.

“We’ve been playing hard all year and we’re finally stepping out of our own way,” Huskies coach Jim Schuppler said. “We eliminate our turnovers and rely on our offensive line, we’re a dangerous team. Their effort was outstanding and it has been all year. We came out and did what we do and didn’t get in our own way.”

And, by the by, Friday was nice revenge for 2016 and 2017. Green Mountain and Battle Mountain played both years with the Rams winning 40-12 down on the Front Range and 27-23 here in Edwards, the latter being the Class of 2021’s freshman year.

Crank it up

Battle Mountain’s defense forced the punt on Green Mountain’s first possession with a sack by Ryan Huck. The Rams attempted a punt, but the snap went high. In corralling the snap, the Green Mountain punter accidentally went down to a knee, so the Huskies took over on the Rams’ 24-yard line.

Though officially not a turnover, the Huskies capitalized anyway. Josh Keiser split the uprights for a 3-0 lead. Count that as a triumph of special-teams coaching as the kick went over instead of under the ball. (We are required by law to give Huskies soccer coach David Cope a hard time.)

Again, Battle Mountain’s defense forced the Rams to turn the ball over on downs and the Huskies’ offense started plowing the road. The offensive line was magnificent Friday blowing holes in Green Mountain’s line.

The Battle Mountain drum line entertains fans during halftime Friday in Edwards.
Battle Mountain drum line entertains fans during halftime Friday in Edwards.

Battle Mountain’s first touchdown drive was a sign of things to come — a lot of running and a lot of time off the clock. Anthony Sanchez, Milan Smith, Elijah Morales and Tanner Roberts led the way. Smith finished it, but the Huskies missed the extra point and led 9-0.

That would not cost Battle Mountain because even though the Rams drove the ball deep, Mr. Morales provided the stop.

He intercepted Green Mountain’s Darius Padilla at the Huskies’ 11.

“See ball, get ball, that’s my mentality. I should have had that,” Morales said. “I’m not going to lie, but Luke Larsen is a big boy.”

After coming down with the ball and bouncing off Larsen, Morales trucked it all the way back with a convoy to the end zone.

With a 15-0 lead — the kick was blocked — the Huskies were in good shape at the half, but needed a finish. Ask and ye shall find.

Before the second play of the second half, quarterback Kai Haggen had only thrown the ball once. With a run-heavy offense, Haggen ran the play-action and found Anthony Sanchez all by his lonesome in the middle of the field. Sanchez went 76 yards for a 22-0 advantage.

Late into the third, the Huskies iced it with a nine-play, 52-yard march. Sanchez got his second score of the night.

Here come the Devils

While the hype for Eagle Valley at Battle Mountain begins, there will be the perfunctory comparisons of results. Obviously, Battle Mountain beating Green Mountain will be a point of conversation. The Rams defeated Eagle Valley 35-20 earlier this year. Please take that with a grain of salt as the Devils were quarantined for two weeks and the Rams were on their third game of the season, while Eagle Valley was opening their year.

Either way, this is a team that is having a lot of fun together — on and off the field.

“Just one more day together. This season has been so unpredictable that we’ve been lucky to have games,” Schuppler said. “We just want to have one more practice together, one more game together. I get emotional about these seniors because they came in with me.”

The to-do list for Battle Mountain football

It’s the Battle of Mountains — Green vs. Battle.

Green Mountain ain’t green and there wasn’t a battle on the mountain south of Minturn, but we’ll take our mountain over theirs any day.

It’s Green Mountain vs. Battle Mountain at 6 p.m. in Edwards.

Let’s break down the keys to the game.

Don’t go to the game

Yes, this is critical — don’t go. By this, we mean, of course, the players are allowed to go to the game. In fact, that’s probably helpful — showing up.

Seriously, tickets are limited to tonight’s game. Both Mountains have a ticket allotment. The players have given their tickets to their family members and that’s it. Because of COVID-19, you can ‘t just walk up to the stadium, buy a ticket and enter.

Ergo, stay home, stay warm, and pop the beverage of your choosing and watch High Five Access Media. Also known as channel 5 on local cable or via highfivemedia.org, Richard Carnes and Josh Andreasen have the call.

Lots of games are getting scrubbed all over the state. Stay safe and, unless you have a ticket, stay home and watch. And keep this in mind for next week, as well. (We forget whom Battle Mountain is playing.)

No overconfidence

Battle Mountain won last week at Liberty, 41-0. That was exciting, even shocking (in a good way).

It’s over. In fact, that win was over Monday morning. Battle Mountain football isn’t good enough to show up on sideline and intimidate the heck out of anyone. You have to have that same hunger when you were 0-4 last week.

It’s interesting because learning how to win requires a mixture of confidence and humility simultaneously. One of the reasons it’s so hard to overturn the cycle of losing at the high school level is that teenagers don’t have humility and, when they’ve been piling up the Ls, they also don’t have confidence.

The Huskies need to have to take some confidence that they can play after last week, but not too much.

Also, no looking ahead to next week.

KISS theory

Green Mountain is a good football team with 3-2 record. That said, it ain’t Roosevelt or Ralston Valley, teams the Huskies have faced earlier this season.

Again, all opponents must be meant with respect and with the proper humility — there’s that term again. We’re just saying that Green Mountain is not Alabama or the Pittsburgh Steelers.

One of the big takeaways from the Liberty game was that Battle Mountain can be solid as long as it gets out of its own way. (It’s amazing how that happens.)

So stick to the bread and butter — ball-control offense out of ancient (but awesome) formations, wrap on your tackles and avoid the penalties. This is is keep it simple, smart football players.

And for all of the talk of simplicity, you do know that Huskies coach Jim Schuppler has a few wrinkles in his bag. The guy was born with wrinkles, and we mean that in a good way.

The Rams

Were there a spread, the Rams would be favored. Green Mountain throws, egad. We say that more because we don’t see passing teams much on this side of the divide.

Senior Darius Padilla is the Rams’ quarterback. He’s 51-for-92 for 908 yards with 10 scores and six picks. Padilla’s two favorite targets are Allen Ortiz (24 catches for 466 yards) and Austin Peterson (16-306).

Can the Huskies get some pressure on Padilla and or keep the coverage up against Ortiz and Peterson? (Elijah Morales jumping a route or two?)

The most important thing

It is, surprisingly, not next week’s Eagle Valley rivalry. No talking about that game this week.

It’s all about seeing if Battle Mountain can reproduce its effort of last week. It’s great to do it one week, but being able to reproduce it is the first step toward becoming a winning team.

Go. Do.

What Eagle Valley football can learn from Battle Mountain

This is ostensibly a column about Battle Mountain football, which does not mean that Eagle Valley fans should stop reading. 

We’re still rather amazed that the Huskies beat 4A Liberty, 41-0, last week. The moment Battle Mountain athletic director Gentry Nixon called me and told me that the team was playing Liberty, I thought to myself, “That’s a loss.” 

Liberty has 1,650 kids to Battle Mountain’s 900-and-change. Given the Huskies lack of success on the gridiron — two winning seasons (one playing as a 2A school) since 1993 — it wasn’t exactly going out on a limb. Four days later, I’m still wondering how it happened. 

Eagle Valley fans should consider all of the above a compliment. The Devils, despite their 1-2 record, are a good team. They probably were a playoff team in a “normal” 10-game season without COVID-19. We expect things from Eagle Valley football. Again, it’s a compliment, and it might provide an applicable lesson. 

Faith forged in years

Watching Battle Mountain football for 24 years now has been a formative experience for me, as I would expect it would be for anyone who has watched this circus for 24 years. (You try it, people.) 

The Huskies can seem hopeless and yet be the cause of eternal hope simultaneously. Hopeless: A game against Gunnison in the late 1990s … The visiting Cowboys return the opening kickoff for a touchdown. First Battle Mountain possession: Pick-six. … Huskies go three-and-out, and Gunnison returns the punt to the house. Battle Mountain is down, 21-0, with 10 minutes left in the first quarter. (Palm slap to head, everyone.) 

Heck, last year, Battle Mountain’s first two home games were postponed by lightning. Maybe, God is trying to tell you something when this happens?

Yet just when you’re ready to give up all hope — say, after getting housed in its first four games this year — Battle Mountain goes out and wins. It is utterly absorbing, while at the same time, sometimes, just unwatchable. (Yes, I still watch.)

Part of this is the optimist in me. You want to see it happen because if the Huskies ever win a 3A Slope title and make a playoff run deep into the bracket, it’s going to be amazing. (I’ll come out of retirement from a sunbelt golfing community, if necessary.) 

What convinces me that Battle Mountain will find a way out of its traditional funk is that everything is cyclical. In the last 20 years, the Cubs (last won in 1908), the White Sox (1917), the Red Sox (1918), the Giants (1954), the Eagles (1960), the Buccaneers (never and just hopeless), the Saints (see the Buccaneers), the Capitals (never), the Blues (never), the Blackhawks (1961) and the Warriors (1975) have all won their championships.

Are you telling me that if the Cubs can do it, the Huskies can’t?

Battle Mountain works and keeps at it, even if the team seems destined to fail. And every so often, you get an improbable win like the Huskies had over Liberty.

Come back, Devils fans

While most of the west end of Eagle County likes to display the countenance that they, of course, don’t care about Battle Mountain and just expect to beat the Huskies on game week, Devils fans do care, if just only to reinforce historical superiority.

But Devils fans could learn from the Huskies’ travails because Eagle Valley football plays Palisade tonight at 6 p.m. at Stocker Stadium. Eagle Valley hasn’t beaten Palisade since 2005 and a lot of casual observers will think the Bulldogs will win in a walk. I usually mark down Palisade as a loss when the schedule comes out every year.

But let’s play some transitivity. Eagle Valley lost to Conifer, 28-27, as Devils fans saw two weeks ago. Last week Conifer thumped Palisade, 28-14.

Perhaps the impossible isn’t so impossible.

Johnson, Owens named to US Freestyle Team

There is a U.S. Ski Freestyle Team and it has a local flavor.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Edwards’ Tess Johnson and Vail’s Kai Owens are on it as moguls aces, the team announced on Monday.

This is year No. 6 for the grizzled veteran Johnson, which might make her “old,” except that she joined the team when she was 14. Now 20, Johnson has quite the resume.

First and foremost, she is already an Olympian, having finished 12th in Pyeongchang, South Korea in 2018. She also competed at worlds in Deer Valley, Utah, the next year, winning bronze in the dual moguls.

Johnson won her first World Cup (dual muguls) in Tazawako, Japan, on March 4, 2018, and has two other World Cup podiums in her career. She finished 10th in the World Cup moguls standings last year before COVID-19 shout down all athletics in March.

Owens, 16, starts her second year with the team. In her rookie campaign, she earned her first top 10 finish in Calgary, Alberta, on Feb. 1, a little bit more than a week after she scored her first points in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. Her roommate in Quebec was none other than Johnson.

The season starts with the Ruka, Finland, stop on Dec. 5. As opposed to Alpine, the tour is still scheduled to swing through North America with stops in Quebec, Alberta and Deer Valley in January and February.

Those North American events are a build-up to worlds in Zhangjiakou, China, Feb. 18-28. As with any sports involving international borders and COVID-19, keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned.

Piliero shines for Rocky Mountain

Rocky Mountain College, in Montana, won the Frontier Conference Championship on Friday to advance to the 65th Annual NAIA Men’s Cross Country Championship, April 9, 2021, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The No. 5 runner for Rocky Mountain was none other than Nico Piliero, Battle Mountain Class of 2020. The college freshman completed 8K in 28 minutes, 8.20 seconds.

Speaking of Battle Mountain alumni, Colorado Mountain College just completed its first foray into regionals on Halloween in Alamosa. CMC’s top runner was Jason Macaluso, who finished fourth and earned all-region honors. Macaluso graduated from Battle Mountain in 2019.

The CMC Eagles will close out their 2020 season on Saturday at the NJCAA Division I National Championships in Fort Dodge, Iowa.

Saints fall to Rangely

Rangely took a large step toward claiming the Northwestern League title by defeating Vail Christian, 24-8, on Friday.

Vail Christian got out to an 8-0, thanks to a 66-yard pass from Taylor Shully to Vinny Nowicki, but the Panthers, who’ve run through the league, were able to overcome.

“I’m proud of our kids,” Vail Christian coach Tim Pierson said. “The kids played well and they fought hard.”

Battle Mountain football blanks Liberty, 41-0

So, Class 3A Battle Mountain football is 0-4. The Huskies have been outscored, 170-29, in those games. Battle Mountain was scheduled to play 3A Summit, but coronavirus knocked out the game against the Tigers.

So the Huskies play “find a game,” and have to play on the road against 4A Liberty. This is going to be ugly, right?

It was — for Liberty.

Battle Mountain opened up four weeks of frustration on the Lancers, beating Liberty, 41-0. The Huskies are on the board, folks, at 1-4.

“Our kids are fighters,” Huskies coach Jim Schuppler said. “Our focus this week was on effort. Can you out-effort this team? Our kids just tried harder. That was the whole focus.”

While we don’t know about designation of “out-efforting” as a verb, you have to give it up for Shoop and the Huskies: They won a game that no one thought they could.

Battle Mountain football is entitled to spend today walking with a strut.

Timeout

Let’s just stop for a moment to try to answer the question, “Has Battle Mountain football ever beaten a 4A team?”

Insert the sound of crickets or the visual of tumbling tumbleweed here.

Seriously, Battle Mountain football, given its struggles, doesn’t schedule 4A-sized schools. The only reason Battle Mountain played 5A Ralston Valley earlier this year and 4A Liberty on Saturday was a global pandemic. This would be a good time to mention that Schuppler was effusive in his praise for his athletic director, Gentry Nixon, for all she has done this fall to keep his football team playing.

Outside of the traditional 3A Slope, Battle Mountain usually plays 2A schools in nonconference play. To add some honest journalism, longtime Huskies football coach Pat Phelan said that as a 2A school in 1991 Battle Mountain beat 3A Palisade. Otherwise, the coach couldn’t remember the Huskies playing, much less beating a 4A squad.

Again, Battle Mountain football is entitled to spend today walking with a strut.

OK, the game

Battle Mountain (1-4, thank you) controlled the pace of play from the start. Ryan Huck scored the first two touchdowns of the game. In the second half, the Huskies shut the door.

Anthony Sanchez started the last 24 minutes with a sweep through Liberty for 47 yards and a trip to the end zone.

Elijah Morales is back from injury, and he looks well. His pick-six made it 28-0. While a stout effort, as Schuppler said, was key, it also didn’t hurt to have Morales and Daniel Redinger back. Then throw in that Battle Mountain avoided making a lot of the mistakes that had undermined their efforts in previous weeks, and the rout is coming into focus.

Quarterback Kai Haggen called his own number for the team’s fifth score. Sophomore Keller Woodworth was the human victory cigar, coming off the bench and just plowing through a Lancers defender for the team’s final touchdown.

When a team wins 41-0, there are a lot of heroes. Defensively, Morales, Redinger, Marshall Jones, and T.J. Nixon got postgame kudos. Defensive coordinator Jeff Krumlauf was also thrilled with his senior-led defensive line, including Huck, Evan Wright and Blu Barnett.

On offense, Jeremiah Vasquez led the line.

“This is my fourth year as a coach and my fourth year with these seniors,” Schuppler said. “They showed the effort today that I’ve been looking for since when I got here. We have great kids and they deserved it today.”

Battle Mountain football is entitled to spend today walking with a strut, and then needs to get to work for Green Mountain on Friday at 6 p.m. in Edwards.

Eagle Valley football holds off Frederick, 14-8

It’s an ancient tradition dating back to the early days of coach John Ramunno at Eagle Valley.

After winning on Senior Day — as the Devils did against Frederick, 14-8, on Saturday — Eagle Valley plays, “How many seniors can you stuff onto a John Deere golf cart?”

The answer, apparently, is 10 of 11 seniors with the John Deere no worse for the wear.

“It just speaks a lot about how tight this group is,” Eagle Valley coach Gabe Brown said. “They rally around each other and play for each other.”

Center of attention

Under the category of playing for each other, Devils fans saw that all Saturday. Late in the first quarter, Eagle Valley senior center Abraham Garcia went down with what appeared to be a right-leg injury on an ordinary 2-yard run by Daniel Gallegos.

Offensive line injuries can disrupt a team’s offense. An injury to the center in a shotgun offense like Eagle Valley’s can be catastrophic. But senior David Solis — the only senior not to pile onto the John Deere after the game — moved over from guard to center and kept the show running.

“Sophomore year, I played center, so I was OK going back to it,” Solis said. “It’s really unfortunate he went down, but you gotta do what you have to to to win.”

Lisandro Aguilar ran hard for 8 yards and Gallegos followed with 3 yards plus a face-mask penalty for a big gain. Sebastian Witt ran it the next two times and quarterback Will Geiman capped the march with a 10-yard pass to Antony Vasquez for a 6-0 lead. (Not only is Garcia the center, but he’s also the kicker and Eagle Valley’s 2-point try was no good.)

Eagle Valley added to its lead with a drive to start the second half. Witt piled up 29 yards of rushing on just two carries. Geiman found Erich Petersen for 15 yards to keep things humming.

Gallegos picked up 6 more yards on the ground before Geiman to Vasquez made it 12-0 with 9:53 left in the third quarter. Witt ran in the conversion for what seemed to be a neat and tidy 14-0 lead.

The dark side

Saturday’s theme was “Welcome to the dark side” on Eagle Valley football’s Facebook page. The team wore its black uniforms and fans were encouraged to wear the color as well.

As for “dark side” defense, well?

“The dark-side defense is physical, fast and arrives with bad intentions,” Aguilar said.

That about described Eagle Valley’s defense on Saturday. The Devils picked up six turnovers on Saturday — two interceptions (Aguilar and Petersen) along with four fumble recoveries.

Frederick’s running game kept the visiting Warriors in the game, but the Devils and Branden Vigil were ball hawks. Frederick put the ball on the ground too many times, and the Devils pounced. Vigil recovered two fumbles and, when the defense wasn’t producing turnovers, it was making plays.

Petersen shut down Frederick’s last gasp with a pass deflection on fourth-and-8 from the Eagle Valley 33.

Eagle Valley (1-2) finishes its regular season at Palisade on Thursday. That, of course, is a sentence that could only be written in COVID days. Despite the weirdness of this season, the Devils feel they can play with the Bulldogs, the traditional power of the 3A Western Slope, on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Stocker Stadium.

Palisade lost to Conifer, 28-14, on Saturday. Last week, Conifer edged Eagle Valley, 28-27.

Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley football to play Nov. 20

It’s official.

We’ve got an Eagle Valley-Battle Mountain or a Battle Mountain-Eagle Valley or an Eagle Mountain-Battle Valley football game — whatever one wants to call it, depending on partisanship.

Battle Mountain athletic director Gentry Nixon and her counterpart at Eagle Valley, Tom LaFramboise, confirmed it on Thursday. Eagle Valley is at Battle Mountain on Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. during Week 7.

This is part of CHSAA’s “6+1” scheduling plan for football during the coronavirus. The organization made out six-game slates — usually the schools make their nonconference schedules and each league sets its games — with a seven-game season in mind.

The “+1” or the seventh-game would be either a first-round playoff game or a game between two non-playoff teams. Since the Huskies are 0-4 and the Devils 0-2 after a COVID quarantine, the schools have made the educated guess that they will not make the playoffs.

The two rivals were meant to open the season in Edwards on Oct. 10, but the aforementioned quarantine postponed said contest.

The skinny

Since there is officially a game, it would be prudent to play some catch-up in the rivalry’s favorite pastime — How is the other School Doing?

In the olden days before everyone had a cellphone and the Internet was available everywhere, the first question any Vail Daily reporter covering a local football team would get was, “How did Battle Mountain/Eagle Valley do?” On a night when your team lost, hearing that your rival had also gone down took some of the sting out of defeat. If you won and your rival lost, well, it’s a case of double happiness for you.

So by looking at results of this season — not to mention that Eagle Valley won the game last year, 22-15 — the Devils would be favored.

While both teams are winless, Eagle Valley has been competitive in its two losses — Green Mountain (35-20) and Conifer (28-27). Yes, Battle Mountain has taken it on the chin in an 0-4 start, but its schedule has been ridiculous. The Huskies replaced their originally scheduled game with Eagle Valley with Ralston Valley, ranked No. 8 in Class 5A.

For its nonconference game, CHSAA gave Battle Mountain the Roosevelt Roughridgers, the top-ranked school in 3A. The sound you just heard were Huskies fans muttering, “Thanks a bunch, CHSAA.”

Does Battle Mountain have more of chance to win a football game when it plays Eagle Valley than, say, Roosevelt? Yes. Will that be enough to beat Eagle Valley? As Chris Berman bellows every Sunday, “That’s why they play the games.”

By Week 7, Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley will have two common opponents, Palisade and Green Mountain, allowing fans to play “transitivity,” in assessing their team’s chances.

Going?

This game is always well-attended. It will doubtless be less attended than in years previous because of COVID. Odds are good that schools will have a certain number of tickets allotted for players’ family members to attend and that capacity will be limited.

Neither athletic director has announced plans for tickets for this game. The Vail Daily will pass along any additional ticket information as warranted.

Devils, Huskies cross-country runners honored

This all-state team is one heck of a squad.

Let’s just imagine this for a second. Air Academy’s Bethany Michalak, Niwot’s Mia Prok, Eagle Valley’s Samantha Blair and Battle Mountain’s Elliot Pribramsky all on the same side?

Good luck to anyone who wants to mess with that.

All-state cross-country teams, preceded by all-league honors, came out earlier this week and both Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley are well represented.

It speaks again to the caliber of running in Eagle County. It’s yet another set of awards for Blair who is all-everything. (We’re not kidding, and she’s a junior.) It is a tremendous cap for the careers of Battle Mountain seniors Pribramsky and Hayley Brewster, who’ve done nothing but win at Battle Mountain. Their four years include four regional titles, two state titles and two second-place finishes at state.

Eagle County’s presence in these awards also serves as a calling card for the future. Four of the Huskies’ girls named all-state and five — two sophomores and three freshman — of them selected for all-league all return.

For the boys, the House of Middaugh, which needs a sigil like its counterparts in “Game of Thrones,” reigns. Sullivan made second-team all-state, while Porter was honorable mention.

News and notes

• All-state and all-league can be repetitive, so we point out Eagle Valley’s Gage Nielsen. Yes, the ladies always take the spotlight, but the Devils senior deserves a bow.

He’s an honorable mention all-league selection, and good for him, but he should be recognized for leading the team for four years in Gypsum.

“He has been a fighter,” Devils coach Melinda Brandt said. “COVID messed with some of his goals, but he’s going to keep running. That’s what he does.”

• The season is not over. Both teams — as club entrants, so as not to break CHSAA rules — ran at the Colorado Classic last weekend on the Liberty Bell course. Nielsen ran a time of 16 minutes, 5 seconds, just missing the school record by 2 seconds (Gio Giovagnoli, 2014).

And there’s more racing to come. Blair is off to the XC Town USA Meet of Champions in Terre Haute Indiana, on Nov. 15.

Meanwhile, Battle Mountain’s squad is going to St. George, Utah, for the Colorado-Utah Border War, a meet of those two states’ best on Nov. 21.

All state

  • Girls
  • First team
  • Samantha Blair, Eagle Valley
  • Elliot Pribramsky, Battle Mountain
  • Honorable mention
  • Milaina Almonte, Battle Mountain
  • Hayley Brewster, Battle Mountain
  • Lily Whelan, Battle Mountain
  • Lindsey Whitton, Battle Mountain
  • Boys
  • Second team
  • Sullivan Middaugh, Battle Mountain
  • Honorable mention
  • Porter Middaugh, Battle Mountain

All league

  • Girls
  • First team
  • Samantha Blair, Eagle Valley, league champion
  • Elliot Pribramsky, Battle Mountain
  • Milaina Almonte, Battle Mountain
  • Hayley Brewster, Battle Mountain
  • Lily Whelan, Battle Mountain
  • Honorable mention
  • Lindsey Kiehl, Battle Mountain
  • Lindsey Whitton, Battle Mountain
  • Boys
  • First team
  • Sullivan Middaugh, Battle Mountain, league champion
  • Porter Middaugh, Battle Mountain
  • Sullivan Middaugh, Battle Mountain
  • Ari Dennis, Battle Mountain
  • Honorable mention
  • Gage Nielsen, Eagle Valley
  • Will Bruner, Battle Mountain
  • Jorge Sinaloa, Battle Mountain
  • Kaden Williams, Battle Mountain

Conifer edges Eagle Valley, 28-27

Eagle Valley football overcame an early 14-0 deficit against Conifer during their home opener on Friday night at Gypsum’s John Ramunno Field, but couldn’t hang on, losing to the Lobos, 28-27.

Eagle Valley’s defense looked lost and Conifer dominated early with Lobos running-back Noah Wagner getting to the edge early and often.

Once Wagner had the corner, he was off to the races. Wagner plunged in from the Devils’ 4 with 5:07 left in the first quarter. He made it 14-0 with a 70-yard rumble at the end of the period.

While the Devils’ defense steadied itself, Devils quarterback Will Geiman and the offense got rolling. Geiman kick-started things with a 40-yard run. He capped a 74-yard touchdown march with a 10-yard pass to Eric Hasley to make it 14-6.

The Eagle Valley junior quarterback looked even more comfortable in the pocket on his team’s last drive of the first half. Geiman dialed up Anthony Vasquez twice as well as Erich Petersen and Hasley.

On third-and-8 from the Lobos’ 17, Geiman to Vasquez meant the end zone, trimming the Lobos’ lead to 14-13.

In the second half, the Devils seemed to be taking over. Eagle Valley’s defense produced a three-and-out, giving the Devils the ball on their own 38. One play later, Eagle Valley was in the end zone. Geiman found Petersen out on the right flat and that in itself would have been a nice 5- to 7-yard gain. But then Petersen started bobbing and weaving. Cutting against the grain, Petersen turned on the jets and found the house.

Eagle Valley seemed to have Conifer in a spot with the Lobos starting a possession on their own 2. Instead of ceding field position, Wagner burst 98 yards for a touchdown and with the extra point Conifer took a 21-20 lead.

The Devils answered with an impressive drive of their own. Hard running from Daniel Gallegos and Sebastian Witt set up fourth-and-3 at the Conifer 18. Geiman called his own number and looked to be struggling to make the 15, but he found a seam. Geiman bounced out and got not only the necessary three yards, but 18 for a touchdown.

Leading 27-21, the Devils’ defense was able to stop Conifer once, but not twice. Behind Wagner, the Lobos scored with 2:05 left to tie it at 27. The point after gave Conifer a 28-27 lead.

The Devils’ last gasp ended with an interception.

Eagle Valley hosts Frederick a week from today at 1 p.m. in Gypsum.

Eagle Valley football home for Week 4

Welcome to the halfway point of the high school football season.

Yes, when we reach the respective halftimes of Conifer at Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain at Roosevelt and Soroco at Vail Christian tonight, the Devils Huskies and Saints will have played have of their regular seasons.

That only Battle Mountain will be playing its fourth game in Week 4 is a minor detail. For the 15,000th time, welcome to sports in the Era of COVID-19.

Devils

In a novel concept, Eagle Valley will play its first home game on Oct. 30 against league opponent Conifer. There is so much about that previous sentence that’s weird.

After seeing their first two games wiped out by a coronavirus quarantine, Eagle Valley finally opened its season with a 35-20 loss at Green Mountain.

While everyone wanted a win, last week was an impressive showing. Only time will tell if Eagle Valley coach Gabe Brown was right in saying that Green Mountain isn’t the No. 8 team in the state — the Rams are up to No. 4 in the rating-percentage index.

But the fact remains that the Devils, in their first game, played a solid football team with two games under its belt and was competitive. Now throw in that Green Mountain beat Conifer, 31-0, in Week 2 and Eagle Valley should be coming tonight as a confident squad.

We will amend this on the Devils’ behalf to confident and humble. Confidence is fine, but avoid the temptation to roll into John Ramunno Field assuming a win.

Task No. 1 tonight is bottling up the Conifer run game. The Lobos have 961 yards of offense in three games, and 850 of those have come on the ground. Conifer’s Noah Wagner (67 carries for 631 yards) is the mark. You gotta wrap up, Eagle Valley.

Huskies

Battle Mountain announced its schedule for 2021. The Huskies will be playing Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Valor Christian.

We’re joking, of course, because that seems like the schedule the Huskies are playing this year. In the chsaanow.com poll, Ralston Valley, Battle Mountain’s Week 1 opponent, is ranked No. 8 in 5A. Palisade (Week 2) is No. 8 in 3A. Evergreen (Week 3) with a 2-1 record was in the top 10. This week, the Huskies go to No. 1-ranked Roosevelt (7 p.m.).

While we subscribe to the “Tough Hooey School of Scheduling” school, we simply bring up Battle Mountain’s schedule to say that the Huskies are a better team than their 0-3 record and being outscored 132-29 indicate.

Since we don’t travel and Battle Mountain is the only local team to play home games to this point, the leap between Weeks 1 and 3 was large. It’s not just that they scored touchdowns against Evergreen and forced turnovers. The Huskies have fight.

And if it’s worth anything, I’m not a huge Roosevelt Roughriders fan. FDR is my favorite Roosevelt, not Teddy.

Saints

A new generation of Saints gets introduced to the Vail Christian-Soroco rivalry at Battle Mountain tonight at 7.

So-called small-school rivalries are the best because it’s usually the same athletes playing each other each season in football, basketball and track. Everyone gets to know everyone, healthy grudges bloom and memorable moments are made.

• 2012: Vail Christian is 4-0 entering the Soroco game at Oak Creek. In those four wins, quarterback Austin Ellsworth has thrown for 16 touchdowns. At Soroco, the Saints shelve the passing game and run Mack Cooper (four touchdowns) for a 26-6 win.

• 2018: Vail Christian 74, Soroco 66. That was a football game with only 11 passes. Vail Christian’s Jack Powers ran 19 times for 150 yards and four touchdowns and was only the “fourth-best” rusher of the night. Vail Christian’s defense held Rams running back Jace Logan to 380 yards of rushing with only eight touchdowns.

Have a fun weekend, everyone.