Battle Mountain-Eagle Valley football canceled
Eagle Valley rivalry game is off: Huskies play Summit
The answer to the question is 2001.
When was the last time Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley didn’t play their annual rivalry game?
Add 2020 to the list. The two schools announced on Tuesday that they would not play Friday, the last chance in this coronavirus-plagued season because Eagle Valley announced that it was going to virtual learning on Wednesday. If you’re not in the classroom, you can’t play.
As soon as Eagle Valley went to virtual learning on Tuesday with a press release, Battle Mountain athletic director Gentry Nixon announced that the Huskies will play their Week 7 game against Summit.
Kickoff is at 6 p.m. on Friday in Edwards.
One has to go back to the 2000 and 2001 seasons, a cycle when Eagle Valley was in the 10-team 2A Western Slope, for the Huskies and Devils not to meet. Since 2A teams only play nine games in a regular season and the Devils needed to play nine conference games, they did not schedule the 3A Huskies for those two seasons.
The two teams did schedule their preseason scrimmage against each other in 2000-01. It’s against the rules to keep scores in a scrimmage, of course, but anyone who went to those events might have noticed that Eagle Valley carried the ball into the end zone more than Battle Mountain during those two encounters.
Eagle Valley has dominated the series of late. Battle Mountain recorded two wins in 1997 — the regularly scheduled then-nonconference game in Week 1 and an impromptu Week 7 meeting when the two rivals had byes in their respective schedules. (Class 3A Glenwood Springs and 2A Basalt both dropped down to JV that season, leaving the Huskies and the Devils with an open week.)
The Huskies also won in 2009, 2010 and 2017. Otherwise it’s been a sea of black and red and Eagle Valley yelling, “Ain’t it great …”
Whomever Battle Mountain is playing on Friday, no fans will be watching.
With Eagle County moving to the orange stage with regard to COVID-19, only the players, the coaches, the staff and media will be allowed at the school/stadium in Edwards.
No. One. Else.
Just in case you didn’t quite understand that, no fans — at all — are allowed. No parents, no BFFs, no family, no friends.
“The stadium and property will be closed,” Nixon said. “The parking lot will be closed. The gate will be closed on the back road to the school. We will have the people letting in essential workers to run the game and that is it.”
High Five Access Media will be televising the game on Friday night. You can find the stream on highfivemedia.org, or on channel 5 on your cable system. If you feel like paying for the game, check out NFHS.com.
OK, the Devils
Eagle Valley finishes the season at 1-3. Yes, the Devils did play four games, but it was almost as if the season stopped before it even started.
The Devils were meant to open the season at Battle Mountain on Oct. 10. That week, though, Eagle Valley football had to go into COVID-19 quarantine and missed not only the first iteration of the Battle Mountain game, as well as its scheduled date against Summit.
“That was a tough one at the beginning of the season,” Devils coach Gabe Brown said. “It was easier to quarantine than trying to do contract tracing. It was tough to lose those two games. The kids have fought. They’ve been warriors. My heart goes out to those kids.”
While the Devils returned to the field, they never really found a flow because of their two week’s quarantine. In Week 3, Eagle Valley lost its opener to Green Mountain, 35-20. Since the Devils were in their first week, while the Rams were playing their third, it wasn’t a bad result, just rust.
The Devils returned home to face Conifer and lost to the Lobos, 28-27, again a solid result. Eagle Valley beat Frederick, 14-8, on Nov. 8, before falling to mighty Palisade, 49-0.
And then the season just ended. Brown was heading out to the equipment shed at the south side of John Ramunno Field to set up for practice when Eagle Valley athletic director Tom LaFramboise came up to Brown and broke the news.
“We were excited to play Battle Mountain,” Brown said. “They’re playing good football down the stretch. I’m happy for them. We were looking forward to having a good rivalry game, doing a little chirping, running your mouth and then shaking hands and calling it good.”
If Battle Mountain football had a scouting department, it would have quit by now. The Huskies were meant to play Eagle Valley in Week 1 — they played 5A Ralston Valley — and Summit in Week 5 — they played 4A Liberty — so this ain’t new.
Again, congratulations to Battle Mountain athletic director Gentry Nixon for scheduling a new game for the third time in a seven-week season — that has to be a record of some form.
While disappointed that they are not playing their archrivals, the Huskies, well-versed in COVID-19 logistics, are happy to have a football game.
“I literally just told them the news,” Huskies coach Jim Schuppler said. “At least we get the Vail Pass game. They have an outstanding quarterback-wide receiver combination. That’s what we’ve got. We’re playing football. Our kids get Week 7.”
Summit (1-1) is quite familiar with the COVID life. The Tigers started the season with two contests before having to go into quarantine for the last three weeks.