A bump in Battle Mountain’s road
A handful did not, and now their teammates are paying a price.
Battle Mountain Athletic Director Fred Koetteritz suspended five football players for drinking last weekend, the second straight year he has had to take that action against football players who ran afoul of school district policy. Koetteritz said the players would be punished in accordance with school district policy, a 30-day suspension.
“There are kids with the program who are working hard and don’t deserve this kind of negative notoriety,” said Koetteritz.
The five suspended football players are good kids who made poor choices, he said.
“There are a lot more kids who deserve a lot of credit than those who don’t,” said Koetteritz. “There are more than 200 other athletes who made good choices this weekend. They did what they were supposed to do.”
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Building a program
To some, suspensions two straight years might give the impression of a program in a downward spiral.
They would be wrong.
First year head football coach Pat Engle said it’s unfortunate, but it’s just another bump in the Huskies’ road to success.
“We talk about adversity and overcoming adversity,” said Engle. “We’ve played all year like the world is against us.”
The Huskies, dominated by freshmen and sophomores, have scored 21 points in each of three straight games. Last year they barely scored 21 points all season.
Despite this setback off the field, Engle said, they’re headed in the right direction.
“We’re putting an offense together that can put some points on the board, and we’re putting a defense together that’s making some plays,” said Engle. “These kids fight, they hit, they play hard and that will continue.”
Koetteritz counsels patience.
“A lot of positive steps have been made this year that the won-loss record does not reflect,” said Koetteritz. “Many people may have been greedy in expecting a quick turnaround. That’s not how athletic programs are built.”
Koetteritz said this year’s freshman class comes to Battle Mountain as the first to have had the opportunity to play peewee football. Berry Creek Middle School has also built one of the strongest middle school football programs around those players.
“Now they’re coming to high school and Battle Mountain will benefit,” said Koetteritz.
And while football is a numbers game, when you’re building a program the numbers must go beyond won-loss records, Koetteritz said.
“People need to be patient, they need to believe,” said Koetteritz. “When we look at our depth chart, the kids we have coming along are strong. We’re in very good shape for building the future of this program.”
The football players are taking – and giving – their licks.
“We’ve competed throughout the game. We’ve never quit,” said Koetteritz. “That’s a huge step forward for us. It’s a building block to launch us into next year.”
This year’s football team has more than 40 players. Last year’s incident involving alcohol involved 15 players. Some were suspended and others quit.
“Because the numbers were smaller last year, the impact was greater,” said Koetteritz.
AT A GLANCE
The school district’s alcohol policy
– First offense: 30-day suspension from games.
– Second offense: 60-day suspension from games.
– Third offense: Removal from all high school athletic-activity programs for the remainder of his or her high school career.