And the fall season is off to a flying start
We’ve had all of about four days of high school sports and we already have some bubbling issues. To the Batmobile, everyone.
From a writing standpoint, the one thing about which I smacked my head after I filed the story of Eagle Valley nipping Battle Mountain, 2-1, on Tuesday night was that the Devils won in overtime.
If you will recall, Eagle Valley went 12-4 last season and three of those defeats were in overtime — the Glenwood opener, at Steamboat and, yep, vs. Palmer Ridge in the first round of the playoffs. The Devils’ only regulation loss was … at Battle Mountain. OT was cruel to Eagle Valley last fall.
While the 2015 and 2016 teams are different in personnel, that’s a landmark, another step. Any season in any sport doesn’t begin on the first day of official practice in August. Seasons are chapters in a continuum of years, which in this case started in 2012 when coach Bratzo Horruitiner took over the program.
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The one thing that has not changed with personnel for Eagle Valley soccer is the cliche, “This team doesn’t go down without a fight.” The Devils find a way to scrap, claw and find a way to get it done.
That will serve Eagle Valley well as the season develops.
That said, I’m sure Bratzo wouldn’t mind if you scored first against Rifle today. (Let’s not give the coach a heart condition.) And Eagle Valley, you need to bring the mindset of playing Battle Mountain to every opponent … like Rifle today.
If you want to contend in the league and for a playoff spot, there is no dropping points to the Rifles or Palisades. (You know the Huskies and Sailors won’t and you rightfully want to be with those teams.)
Go. Win today.
It was rather startling to hear coach David Cope say his team was “at the bottom of the league” after Tuesday night’s game. As always with Cope, there is historical context. The Huskies lost in Gypsum early in the season about this time last year, the coach noted, and it turned out to be the team’s only Slope blemish on the way to a league title.
Not that we’re looking ahead, but the Devils visit Edwards on Oct. 6.
In the meantime, get over it, Battle Mountain. You’ve got a week of practice and a stretch of three league games (at Rifle, Palisade and Summit County) to jump right up the table.
Having watched the 20-0 2012 team, of course, that’s the dream for all who follow, but good teams do lose games. Evergreen went 17-2-1 on its way to a title in 2015. (Perhaps, the Huskies know about one of those losses.)
By the way, five games into last season, you weren’t exactly setting the world on fire at 3-2 before a 12-game win streak. Your job is to remember how you felt on Tuesday night and channel that into practice and the rest of the season
Two soccer games and two controversial calls. In our effort to quash all whining at refs this season, we break them down.
• Yes, VMS had a case on a no-call against Battle Mountain in the Huskies’ box, followed naturally by a P.K. on the other end for Cody BAhan. (Sorry, Cody.) Yes, it was an important turn of events, but the Huskies were the better team on Saturday. Even without the P.K., BAhan scored again, and I misspelled his name again. (Yes, and I realize now the Barajas(es) are not brothers.)
• Lest anyone think I’m picking on VMS, well, the Huskies’ Efren Gonzalez picked up his second yellow on Tuesday night on a play that could have gone either way. Learn from it, Efren. When you’re carrying a yellow, you have to be careful. And, of course, that loss wasn’t on Efren or the refs. The Huskies actually played better with 10 in the second half.
Again, stuff, for a lack of a better word, happens. Deal with it. Overcome it.
This is fun.
Beating Montrose is instant credibility. Beating Central, after being swept by the same last year, is a step. Let’s see how it goes at Regis this weekend. I really like teams that go play good/big opponents. St. Teresa is an unknown, but the Stars aren’t coming from Kansas City, Missouri, to Denver to see the sights. (They made the Missouri state playoffs last year.) Fruita Monument is 5A.
Let it fly, ladies. You’re officially on the radar.
There we go. Steamboat Springs may be 2A now, but Battle Mountain didn’t beat the Sailors for four years running when they were 3A. Good job, fellas. That’s a start.
As with any opener, there’s a lot to clean up, but you took a punch in the third quarter with the Sailors’ 95-yard fumble return, and that could have been the game. Instead, you responded with 21 points. On to Roaring Fork in a week.
And on deck …
Vail Christian’s spikers have their home opener on Friday against North Park. VMS volleyball opens today at Plateau Valley.
Eagle Valley and Vail Christian finally get to play football on Friday. The Devils play the Sun Devils of Kent Denver down on the Front Range, while the Saints head to Parachute for Grand Valley.
Our cross-country teams are running the home trails for the next two weeks, starting with the Battle Mountain Invite at Beaver Creek Mountain on Saturday.
Go get ’em, everyone.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.