Battle Mountain football is for real, but is it real?
We return to our bizarre parallel universe tonight in Edwards as Battle Mountain football hosts Delta at 7.
Yeah, I know I’ve been cracking jokes about the success of Huskies football lately, but this season simply requires one to suspend his or her knowledge of what’s come before.
For example, I am actually looking forward to going to a Week 8 high school football game. This just ain’t normal. By this time, Battle Mountain football is pretty much done and/or just waiting for the Eagle Valley game. (And in most years, that hasn’t ended well either, as the Huskies usually ended up losing that one, too.)
This is year No. 15 of covering Battle Mountain football, and the Huskies were 25-114 in the previous 14 seasons. When you consider that the team was 5-5 in 1997 and 4-6 in both 2000 and 2006, you start to see some ugly math.
(And while we’re here, I take absolutely no pleasure in what’s happening with Eagle Valley’s recent struggles. I’ve had four 0-10s and several one-win seasons between Eagle-Vail and Edwards, and I don’t wish this on any team … except Palisade.)
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Yeah, I’m really having a hard time wrapping my brain around the reality that includes a 6-1 Battle Mountain football team. And I’m not the only one. While they remain a great duo to which to listen, it’s been hilarious hearing Steve Leigh and Weez on KZYR because you can sense that they are still grappling with this as well.
They are used to trying to fill the air for about three hours with Battle Mountain getting decked by (insert name of school here) by a score of a-lot-to-a-token-moral-victory-touchdown. That isn’t easy.
The funniest moment up in the press box came during the Palisade game two weeks ago as the Huskies ripped off four touchdowns in the second half. There was a collective glance at some point with Leigh, Weez, announcer Rohn Robbins and me that just said, “Do you believe this is happening?”
What’s really interesting is that those of us who’ve watched the local football scene for many a year are probably carrying the weight of history more than the players and coaches themselves. When I’m covering other sports, I’ll see players like Jake Engle, Timmy Licciardi, Reeve Sanders and Chris Libertini and so on, and start into “You’ve got to go get (insert team here). No let-up. You’ve got to thinking like you’re playing Rifle, etc.”
They’re polite. “We’ve got it, Freud,” they say, and then they probably roll their eyes when I’m gone. That’s fine. That’s actually probably good. The majority of this team was born about the time the Huskies last made the playoffs, 1994, and they really don’t seem burdened by the football atrocities which have gone before them.
Honestly, I’m reluctant to go talk about postseason scenarios in print for fear of jinxing things. OK, here goes … If Palisade beats Rifle next week, and the Huskies win out, Battle Mountain wins the Slope. (The Huskies have the tiebreaker in this scenario.) If Rifle beats Palisade, thus clinching the league, Battle Mountain, currently No. 2 (behind Palisade) in wild-card points among those not leading their conference, would presumably be the first wild card into the state playoffs, if it wins its final three games.
And here’s where I go all Jim Mora. “Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs. You kidding me? Playoffs?” ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7fjDS0jKiE, for your viewing pleasure.)
I keep waiting for the trap door to open. I remember listening to the “Monsoon Game” in Delta last year. The Huskies lost in OT. The cynic in me says that it would be just so-Battle Mountain to be Steamboat Springs’ first win since 2009. And let’s face it, Eagle Valley would love to stick it to Battle Mountain in Week 10. Nothing will be easy about that one.
Old habits die hard. Either way, it’s going to be a finish to remember.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.