Battle Mountain football blanks Liberty, 41-0
Who saw that coming?
So, Class 3A Battle Mountain football is 0-4. The Huskies have been outscored, 170-29, in those games. Battle Mountain was scheduled to play 3A Summit, but coronavirus knocked out the game against the Tigers.
So the Huskies play “find a game,” and have to play on the road against 4A Liberty. This is going to be ugly, right?
It was — for Liberty.
Battle Mountain opened up four weeks of frustration on the Lancers, beating Liberty, 41-0. The Huskies are on the board, folks, at 1-4.
“Our kids are fighters,” Huskies coach Jim Schuppler said. “Our focus this week was on effort. Can you out-effort this team? Our kids just tried harder. That was the whole focus.”
While we don’t know about designation of “out-efforting” as a verb, you have to give it up for Shoop and the Huskies: They won a game that no one thought they could.
Battle Mountain football is entitled to spend today walking with a strut.
Let’s just stop for a moment to try to answer the question, “Has Battle Mountain football ever beaten a 4A team?”
Insert the sound of crickets or the visual of tumbling tumbleweed here.
Seriously, Battle Mountain football, given its struggles, doesn’t schedule 4A-sized schools. The only reason Battle Mountain played 5A Ralston Valley earlier this year and 4A Liberty on Saturday was a global pandemic. This would be a good time to mention that Schuppler was effusive in his praise for his athletic director, Gentry Nixon, for all she has done this fall to keep his football team playing.
Outside of the traditional 3A Slope, Battle Mountain usually plays 2A schools in nonconference play. To add some honest journalism, longtime Huskies football coach Pat Phelan said that as a 2A school in 1991 Battle Mountain beat 3A Palisade. Otherwise, the coach couldn’t remember the Huskies playing, much less beating a 4A squad.
Again, Battle Mountain football is entitled to spend today walking with a strut.
OK, the game
Battle Mountain (1-4, thank you) controlled the pace of play from the start. Ryan Huck scored the first two touchdowns of the game. In the second half, the Huskies shut the door.
Anthony Sanchez started the last 24 minutes with a sweep through Liberty for 47 yards and a trip to the end zone.
Elijah Morales is back from injury, and he looks well. His pick-six made it 28-0. While a stout effort, as Schuppler said, was key, it also didn’t hurt to have Morales and Daniel Redinger back. Then throw in that Battle Mountain avoided making a lot of the mistakes that had undermined their efforts in previous weeks, and the rout is coming into focus.
Quarterback Kai Haggen called his own number for the team’s fifth score. Sophomore Keller Woodworth was the human victory cigar, coming off the bench and just plowing through a Lancers defender for the team’s final touchdown.
When a team wins 41-0, there are a lot of heroes. Defensively, Morales, Redinger, Marshall Jones, and T.J. Nixon got postgame kudos. Defensive coordinator Jeff Krumlauf was also thrilled with his senior-led defensive line, including Huck, Evan Wright and Blu Barnett.
On offense, Jeremiah Vasquez led the line.
“This is my fourth year as a coach and my fourth year with these seniors,” Schuppler said. “They showed the effort today that I’ve been looking for since when I got here. We have great kids and they deserved it today.”
Battle Mountain football is entitled to spend today walking with a strut, and then needs to get to work for Green Mountain on Friday at 6 p.m. in Edwards.
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