A warm welcome to November, everyone
Welcome to November.
If you’re a fall sports team, and you’re playing in the 11th month of the year, life is good.
Here’s the early rundown, by alphabetical order, of this week’s action:
Battle Mountain volleyball
If we refer to the Huskies as the Saints, there’s a reason. Battle Mountain, in its first trip to the Denver Coliseum since 2007, got the Vail Christian time slot — 8 a.m.
Welcome to breakfast at state. The No. 9 Huskies are in Pool IV, four for the Roman-numeral impaired, and face No. 4 Montrose on Friday at 8 a.m. and No. 5 Valor Christian on Saturday — at 8 a.m.
Before any declare this a Machiavellian plot, it’s a formula. The ninth seed, regardless of classification, gets 8 a.m. start times. Since Vail Christian drew No. 9 last year in 1A and the Huskies the same in 4A this year, bring your caffeinated beverage of choice.
Huskies fans will doubtless appreciate the irony of opening state with Montrose. The Indians are usually the opener for the season for Battle Mountain — this year being the exception as the second match of the season.
Montrose has had Battle Mountain’s number to the tune of six straight wins, dating back to 2009. The Huskies last beat Montrose on Aug. 29, 2008.
This will doubtless be a measuring-stick game against the Indians (20-5), the champions of the 5A/4A Southwestern League.
Saturday morning is Valor Christian, the Jeffco champ, and general state power in most sports.
Of course, very few people thought that Battle Mountain (22-3) would be here after graduation losses, but the Huskies have formed a new identity and overcame injuries and history to get to the Denver Coliseum.
Pool IV is the IVth of IV pools. A team has to win its pool to advance to Saturday’s semifinals. Were the Huskies to advance to the semis, they would play at roughly 2 p.m. against the winner of Pool I (Lewis-Palmer, Berthoud and Air Academy).
The finals are at 7 p.m.
Eagle Valley football
One of the great things about a Western Slope team making the playoffs is that one doesn’t play a Western Slope team in the first round of the 3A football playoffs.
No. 14 Eagle Valley is at No. 3 Roosevelt at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
The Rough Riders are 9-1 with their only loss to 4A Windsor, back in Week 1.
Roosevelt’s archrival? It’s Frederick, which is a nice omen for Eagle Valley’s fans. In 2012, the Devils’ last playoff appearance, Eagle Valley was No. 14 and beat No. 3 Frederick, 33-8, on a snowy day.
That’s not the only precedent for Slope teams pulling the upset. Last year, No. 13 Delta knocked off No. 4 Holy Family, while No. 12 Glenwood Springs did the trick against No. 5 Elizabeth, 14-13. The Slope was 3-1 in the first round with only No. 11 Rifle falling to eventual state champion Coronado, 34-31.
The wild-card points did justice by the Slope as five of the 16 teams in the bracket come from out west. Rifle’s No. 6 (home for Northridge); Delta’s No. 9 (at Conifer); Palisade’s No. 12 (at Lutheran); Eagle Valley’s No. 14; and Glenwood No. 15 (at Evergreen).
Please don’t look for logic in the fact that the Devils are seeded ahead of a team they lost to (Glenwood) and behind a team they beat (Delta).
Speaking of interesting logic, were Rifle and Eagle Valley to win their games Saturday, then they would meet in the quarters — in Gypsum.
Vail Christian football
Poor Saints. They are hopelessly outmatched against a team from the powerful Plains League.
That was the narrative for their first-round playoff game last week against Merino, which Vail Christian won, 38-34.
Next up is Dayspring Christian, the No. 1 seed in 8-man and champions of the big, bad Plains League. Why should the Saints even bother to show up?
Vail Christian will be the underdog this week because the defending 8-man champs deserve their due, but last week showed that the Saints really can play with the top teams in the state.
One key this week will be not to fall behind 14-0 this week as the Saints did against Merino. Chalk that up to playoff jitters, which should be out of the way.
Dayspring thumped Elbert, 55-8, in Round 1. The Saints took care of those same Bulldogs, 32-0 in conference play.
This is probably going to be a closer game than most in the state think.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.