Battle Mountain will retire Scott Ward’s number during Friday’s home game |

Battle Mountain will retire Scott Ward’s number during Friday’s home game

Battle Mountain High School will retire Scott Ward's number during Friday's home game against Aspen. A community potluck and gathering is planned prior to the game in Freedom Park, across Miller Ranch Road from the school.
Special to the Daily |

If You Go

What: Ceremony to retire Scott Ward’s Battle Mountain High School football jersey

When: Friday, 5 p.m. potluck, followed by the Battle Mountain-Aspen game

Where: Potluck is in Freedom Park. The game is at Battle Mountain High School

Cost: The potluck is free, but bring something to share.

Information: Let them know you’re coming by going to the Scott Ward Jersey Retirement page on Facebook. Or you can just show up.

You can also help Scott’s family with a gift to the Scott Ward Memorial Fund at" target="_blank">BoldIntro">

EAGLE COUNTY — Scott Ward was No. 12 in your program and No. 1 in your Husky heart.

On Friday, Battle Mountain will retire Ward’s No. 12. No one else will ever wear it in a Huskies uniform, as it should be.


Ward’s all-too-short life is a study in being an overachiever.

He quarterbacked the Huskies from six straight winless seasons to within 6 inches of a state title.

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He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy where he was one of their top pilots and students.

He flew combat missions that ended with bullet holes in his plane.

He flew missions on 9/11.

He flew Air Force One, one of only 11 pilots selected to pilot the president.

You have to honor a man like that. On Friday, Husky Nation will.

At halftime during Friday’s Battle Mountain-Aspen football game, Ward’s No. 12 will be retired. Before the game, around 5 p.m., a community gathering and potluck is planned at Freedom Park, across Miller Ranch Road from the school.

Ward, a member of the Battle Mountain Class of ’86, died in a freak traffic accident in August, driving to his new job as a test pilot for a private aviation company.

Teammates and classmates

Ward’s Battle Mountain teammates and classmates pushed the idea to retire his number. They contacted former coach Pat Phelan and Ward’s teammate J.C. Moritz, and kept contacting them, saying, “We should do something to honor Scott.”

They repeated it like a mantra, achieving the positive results mantras are supposed to generate.

“Not only was he a leader on the field, but throughout his life he did so many things that brought positive attention to his family and Battle Mountain High School,” Phelan said.

Battle Mountain teammate Jeff Campbell will speak during the ceremony, as will John McCarthy, Battle Mountain’s backfield coach during those years. Ward’s jersey will be presented to his family.

Ward’s framed jersey will take its place beside Campbell’s retired number in the school.

“I’m so thrilled they’re doing this,” said Shirley Ward, Scott’s mom.

Lessons that last

It surprised no one that Ward excelled at the Air Force Academy, Phelan said.

“It also doesn’t amaze me that the president of the United States says, ‘This is the guy we want in the cockpit,’” Phelan said. “Everyone around him said, ‘Scott’s in control. We’re going to be fine.’”

Locally, Ward is often remembered for quarterbacking Battle Mountain’s football team as it transformed from Colorado’s longest losing streak — six straight winless seasons — to the state championship game.

Ask around about Ward and words like, “leader,” “character” and “integrity” keep coming up.

“He didn’t talk that much, but he was a great leader,” Moritz said. “There are followers and leaders, and he was a leader.”

It’s unfair, of course, to remember a man like Ward and the other Huskies from that team for coming so close to the state championship they chased so long, but eluded them by 6 inches as time expired.

“It left a taste in our mouth that none of us ever wanted to experience again, but it also taught us about hard work and loving each other as teammates,” Campbell said. “Even though we lost, we really won. Look at that group of kids. We all went on to become successful.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935.

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