Huskies Nation honors hero, former quarterback
EDWARDS — Friday’s Huskies Nation event to retire Scott Ward’s No. 12 jersey and number was a classy class reunion.
Huskies — past, present and future — came from all around the country to be part of it.
Hundreds came early to the community potluck in Freedom Park to reminisce and catch up with friends they hadn’t seen in years. The place was packed with black and gold Battle Mountain football jerseys. They laughed, they hugged and they cried a little.
Ward brought honor to his alma mater and family with an exemplary life and distinguished military career. A freak auto accident took his life six weeks after he retired.
Dozens of his teammates and classmates took the field for the halftime ceremony. They raised their glasses. They raised their voices. They raised their eyes to heaven where Scott was surely looking down and smiling, forever at the heart of Huskies Nation.
“He was not just an overachiever. He lived a life of endless opportunities. He walked up to the door of opportunity, knocked it down and introduced himself,” said Jeff Campbell, a teammate on that 1985 Battle Mountain football team.
Campbell’s No. 26 jersey is already retired. Campbell played at the University of Colorado and in the NFL.
“When his jersey hangs next to mine, it will be proud moment for me,” Campbell said.
Battle Mountain has exceptional coaches, and they’re thankful for that, Campbell said.
“But coaches don’t go onto the field and execute. What made the team go and what got us to the finals was No. 12, Scott Ward,” Campbell said.
“Scott was my best friend for 37 years, and he always told it like it was,” said Tim Adams. “How many people in our lives can tell us the truth, that we need to suck it up, that we made a mistake?”
Always a leader
Ward led, he always led. He led the Huskies from six straight winless seasons to the championship game. He excelled at the Air Force Academy. He led combat missions and 9/11 missions. He led thousands during his distinguished military career. He sat at the controls of Air Force One, one of only 11 pilots honored to do so.
John McCarthy was running back coach for that 1985 Battle Mountain team, and is now the basketball coach at Western State Colorado University in Gunnison.
“I’m an old history teacher, and I tell stories,” McCarthy said.
He told the story of that championship game. The Huskies didn’t win the game, but the story of that team has a happy ending.
“He did what became a lifelong habit. He led,” McCarthy said. During the 1985 championship game, he lead the Huskies to covering 80 yards in 13 plays in 111 seconds.
“They were led by a man who we are here to honor,” McCarthy said.
Seven Huskies from that team were named All State. Ward was not one of them.
“He was OK with that,” McCarthy said. “He had that rare ability to be a servant leader.”
As Battle Mountain crushed Aspen Friday night, every spot on the scoreboard was filled with Ward’s No. 12.
From this day forward, no Huskies football player will wear Ward’s No. 12.
It’s his; No. 12 in the Battle Mountain football program, No. 1 in their hearts.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.