Eagle Valley rallies past Battle Mountain, 22-15
Lee, Geiman save the night for Devils
EDWARDS — History repeated itself in many ways on Friday night when Eagle Valley football called on Battle Mountain. And history was made as well.
The Huskies still flipped, and the Devils still won, rallying for a 22-15 victory over their cross-county rivals in Edwards.
Eagle Valley’s Matt Lee caught “only” two passes. They were both big, but his 31-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Will Geiman with 1:25 left in the game, capping a dramatic 97-yard drive, will go down in the rivalry’s lore.
It’s the second year in a row Eagle Valley won bragging rights — the Devils won in Gypsum last year, 24-13. Maybe just as important, the Devils finished the season at 5-5 overall and 3-2 in the 3A Western Slope, the program’s best record since 2015.
After both teams struggled offensively during the first quarter, the Huskies (2-8) finally got a good drive going. Battle Mountain marched 12 plays and 58 yards to the end zone. Huskies quarterback Kai Haggen completed a 12-yard pass to Spencer Goldberg and Anthony Sanchez had a 12-yard run to help things along.
Haggen called his own number from 2 yards to give the Huskies a 6-0 lead.
Now flashback to 2017, when the Huskies beat the Devils last. During that game, Huskies coach Jim Schuppler had senior snowboarder Breeam Brandenburg line up as the kicker for an extra point. Brandenberg did a backflip that captivated Eagle Valley while then-sophomore Kiah Gongaware ran in for a 2-point conversion.
Friday night, Victor Ortiz lined up as the kicker and did multiple backflips to his team’s sideline as Dalton Patterson hauled in the 2-point pass.
To Eagle Valley’s credit, Battle Mountain’s trickery didn’t seem to faze the Devils. Three plays later, they were in the end zone. Sophomore quarterback Geiman ran around the left end for 42 yards toward daylight and the house.
The Devils went with the straight-forward point-after-touchdown, narrowing Battle Mountain’s lead to 8-7.
While Geiman’s second touchdown of the half with 27 seconds left in the first half was a carbon copy of the first, give the Eagle Valley defense credit for setting up the score.
The Devils’ defense harried Haggen into an intentional-grounding penalty and a sack, giving the offense good field position upon which to capitalize.
Eagle Valley’s defense stiffened again on Battle Mountain’s first drive of the second half. A Haggen 24-yard pass to Anthony Sanchez plus a roughing-the-passer flag got Battle Mountain down to the Devils’ 22. Lisandro Aguilar and Connor Weeks forced yet another intentional-grounding call that pushed the Huskies back 22 yards.
Battle Mountain simplified things by running behind junior Jeremiah Vasquez. Haggen and Sanchez got behind the big guy, gaining chunks, capped by Sanchez’s 5-yard run and a critical extra point by Milian Smith for a 15-14 lead.
Battle Mountain’s Elijah Morales came up with a fourth-quarter interception of Geiman. That seemed to set up a big drive for the Huskies.
In another one of those “what the heck happened?” plays, Sanchez busted off a huge run but fumbled. Both teams tried to fall on the ball, but Sanchez came up with his own miscue for a 66-yard gain.
The Huskies got down to third-and-goal on the Devils’ 6 before Sanchez fumbled again, this time with the Devils recovering.
The Devils’ Matt Lee was conspicuously absent from the action until he hauled in a 34-yard pass from Geiman to put Eagle Valley into plus territory with fewer than four minutes remaining in regulation.
Geiman to Lee for 31 yards and a touchdown on third-and-9 with 1:25 left iced the game.
It was Senior Night for Battle Mountain, and the Huskies honored Ortiz, Gongaware, Goldberg, Parker Lutz, Garrett Anderson, Ryan Mach, Martin Velasco, Jimmy Hancock, and Lucas Zivelonghi.
Devils 0 14 0 8 — 22
Huskies 0 8 7 0 — 15
B – Kai Haggen, 2 run, pass good, 6:52
E – Will Geieman, 42 run, kick good, 5:28
E – Geiman, 43 run, kick good, 0:27
B – Anthony Sanchez, 5 run, kick good, 3:34
E – Geiman to Matt Lee, 31 pass, run good, 1:25