Local soccer season kicks off for Gore Rangers, Huskies, Devils and Saints | VailDaily.com

Local soccer season kicks off for Gore Rangers, Huskies, Devils and Saints

The leader in the clubhouse for Craziest Game of the Year remains Eagle Valley-Battle Mountain basketball, Round 1, a 110-102 Devils' win over the Huskies, a game that taxed the math abilities of all involved.

Yet, we didn't get our winner for last year until April when Battle Mountain goalie Jordan Glendining scored from the run of play in the waning seconds of a 2-1 overtime win against Steamboat Springs.

That provides a convenient segue to this year's craziness, which starts on Thursday, March 8, with Eagle Valley hosting Wheat Ridge.

Here's the rundown:

Vail Mountain School

The Gore Rangers will lead the state in the following categories:

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• Most players with World Cup wins on the roster — way to go, Tess Johnson.

• Most mumbling by the coach about national politics.

• Most times a coach says some variation of, "We need to play faster."

We are downright proud about the first item. On the second item, we're giving Bob Bandoni grief because we can, and we're deadly serious about No. 3.

As is usual with VMS, its roster will filter in as winter sports wrap. The regular season will be about incorporating everyone and building up the tempo of play.

The schedule is rightly weighted toward the end of the season with key 3A Slope games as well as playing up against Mullen and Battle Mountain, although expect and early test in the Bandoni Coaching Tree Bowl II against Eagle Valley on March 24.

We are probably looking at some combination of VMS, Coal Ridge and Basalt atop the 3A Slope.

Battle Mountain

The Huskies enter the season with very little fanfare, which is definitely unusual for the program. The Huskies, usually a regular in the chsaanow.com top 10, didn't even receive a preseason vote.

Battle Mountain went 7-8 last year, did not make the playoffs and the world did not stop spinning.

This is a rarity for the Huskies — relative anonymity.

Battle Mountain showed a lot of grit coming back from an 0-5 start last season. Despite a tough nonconference schedule, which includes back-to-back games against Wheat Ridge and D'Evelyn, don't expect a repeat.

Palisade and Glenwood Springs are the teams to beat in the 4A Slope.

Eagle Valley

The Devils accomplished a lot of firsts last season.

They beat Battle Mountain for the first time in ages.

They swept Steamboat Springs.

They made the playoffs for the first time since 2015.

This spring is time for seconds.

Eagle Valley's job in 2018 is proving that last season wasn't a fluke, but the beginning of a program. To that end, the Devils lost some seniors from last year's squad, but also have some good returners. Year No. 2 under coach Maggie Sherman should also help.

Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain should both be in the playoff hunt.

Vail Christian

The Saints are playing 2018 as an independent, a good idea given the lumps they took last season in the 3A Slope. Coach Barbara Wilson reports that the school has 20 out for the team.