Vail Valley preps watch: The hunt for the playoffs (column) | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley preps watch: The hunt for the playoffs (column)

Happy crunch time.

All four schools are coming down to the nuts and bolts of the playoff chase, be it for a league title or for coveted spots in the rating-percentage index.

Here's what everyone has to do in the next week.

Soccer

• It always comes down to Thursdays for Battle Mountain soccer. It's at Glenwood Springs on Thursday, Oct. 11, followed by at Steamboat Springs on Oct. 18.

The league scenario is pretty simple — a win in Glenwood Springs clinches. The RPI is nice — sixth at last viewing. The bigger picture is the eye test.

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Huskies soccer has looked brilliant at time this season, yet the 2-2 draw against Glenwood Springs in Edwards remains unsettling. "At Glenwood Springs" is always a tough assignment for this program, and you have to figure Steamboat wants some serious payback after the Huskies pounded the Sailors, 7-2.

How Battle Mountain goes through the gauntlet of the Springses in the next week may tell us a lot.

• Vail Mountain School soccer, now No. 5 in the 3A RPI, has four games in eight days to finish the regular season. After VMS beat Delta on Tuesday, Oct. 9, we wrote that road games at Basalt are tricky things. Little did we know that the Longhorns were beating Roaring Fork, 3-2, in overtime on Tuesday.

We hope that got the Gore Rangers' attention. Play the way you played in the first half against Delta for 80 minutes and you should be fine.

Volleyball

• Apparently, Eagle Valley is hosting Battle Mountain on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Be there.

Battle Mountain is No. 13 in ye olde RPI, while Eagle Valley is 17th. In the league, Steamboat and Palisade lead at 6-2 with the Huskies at 6-3 and the Devils at 5-3.

The Huskies won in five over the Devils in September.

The loser is probably — it's scary to make predictions with this race — out of the league hunt. The winner will gain a game on either Steamboat or Palisade, who play on Friday, Oct. 12.

More importantly, the winner has better chance of hopping into the top 12 in RPI and having a chance at hosting a regional in November.

Bottom line: This isn't a big game or anything.

• VMS volleyball has two league games left and they're this weekend with a swing through Hotchkiss and Paonia. With the caveat that Hotchkiss comes first, ladies, you owe Paonia.

Winning would also be nice as VMS (13-3) is No. 9 in the RPI and would like to keep it that way.

Football

• Battle Mountain football is 5-1. For those of us permanently scarred by several 0-10s and other mediocre moments of Huskies football, this is really exciting.

Lest you gents think you're all that — and you ain't — you get two assignments. The first is to close out a darn football game. I can understand a slow start against Summit County when you're playing in a darn monsoon. But you were up 20-7 in the third quarter, were receiving the kickoff to open the second half and didn't put the game away.

Before you know it, Summit recovers a fumble, returns it to the house and it's 20-14.

There is no letting up in football. You have to finish. Coach Jim Schuppler should bring out the Rifle tapes. Nothing is over until the clock flashes zeroes.

Assignment No. 2: Raise your game at Steamboat Springs. You had better, as Glenwood Springs and Palisade loom.

• How 'bout them Saints … Let's try to hold an opposing team to fewer than 66 points. Sorry, still stunned by the 74-66 win over Soroco.

We weren't kidding about the RPI. Beating the Rams shot the Saints from No. 17 (out of the playoffs) to No. 9 (on the verge of home field in the playoffs.

No time to get a big head, Vail Christian. Go get Gilpin County.

Cross-country

We are one week from regionals — Oct. 18 at the Willow Creek Par-3. Eagle Valley is not competing this week and Battle Mountain technically is at Rifle.

The meet in Rifle is essentially a run-off for the last spots on the regional team.

For all intents and purposes, there's a better chance of me running for Battle Mountain than the Lizzy and Naomi Harding running this week. I did break 30 minutes one time my junior year on JV.