Crunch time nears for Vail Valley high school teams
Welcome to the most glorious sports time of the year. College football and the NFL are going great guns. We have arrived at the baseball playoffs, and it will be a stress-free postseason, as long as the Dodgers go down to ignominious defeat.
And we are in crunch time for high school sports.
Here’s the rundown:
Last week in this space, you thought I was kidding about the fact that Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs soccer could have lu-lu games ahead on their schedules. The Sailors escaped Summit County, 1-0, on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the Huskies ran from Glenwood Springs with a 2-1 win.
Battle Mountain-Glenwood acrimony dates back years and then Stubler Memorial Field constricts everything that the Huskies like to do — play wide and pass on a surface resembling grass. If that stadium ever burns to the ground, everyone affiliated with Huskies soccer better have a good alibi.
So we have Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs at 7-1 in the Slope and Eagle Valley at 7-2.
One would think that Battle Mountain has the edge in the league with the schedule. Both Eagle Valley and Steamboat play in Edwards down the stretch.
But, before you bombard me with hate mail, the Huskies are still figuring out their identity. Winning at Glenwood was Donald Trump huge, but these Huskies aren’t quite yet the crown princes of the fall, as in past marches to Slope titles.
Eagle Valley has the grit, which Battle Mountain is attempting to build. Steamboat Springs coach Rob Bohlmann will cook something up for Huskies in their meeting.
The Devils get Steamboat at home next week, which is a huge advantage. John Ramunno Field does not suit the Sailors. Meanwhile, the Sailors keep finding a way to win.
This is going to get crazy.
• Attaboy to Battle Mountain’s Miles Joersz. He took some grief earlier this season, yet saved his team’s bacon on Tuesday in Glenwood.
• Along those lines, Vail Mountain School’s Bridger Gile had the own goal in his team’s 3-1 win against Aspen. Don’t worry about it, kid. You’re a phenomenal defender. I don’t care that you technically play 3A soccer. Both the Huskies and Devils will kill to have you on their back line. Your team bailed you out as you have done many times and will continue to do.
• Oh, yes VMS at Roaring Fork on Saturday. Gore Rangers, let’s find an ugly goal. You guys score pretty goals and it’s fun to watch. On the Rams’ pitch, it’s going to take jail break, a deflection, something decidedly not pretty. Go get it, and then step on their throat. No letting the Rams back into the game like last time.
• No. 1 Evergreen comes to town tonight to face the Huskies. Yes, Evergreen was probably the greatest game ever in Huskies’ history back in 2012. (Yes, even better than the state-title game itself.) That said, Battle Mountain, you are not the 2012 team. Time to write your own story.
OK, lemme see if I have this straight. Battle Mountain beat Eagle Valley, which beat Delta, which beat Battle Mountain. And, by the way, Vail Christian beat Battle Mountain. Try working the transitivity of all that. Yeesh.
I really thought Eagle Valley was going to beat Battle Mountain last week. (Seriously, this is why this is fun. I’ve got no clue on who’s gonna win both soccer and volleyball.)
Part of the confusion is due to both teams growing through the season, which is fantastic. After the Huskies lost to Vail Christian, I was penciling the black and gold for a long year. And, yes, when the Devils were 0-4, I was thinking, “Oh, boy.” (Loose translation.)
Battle Mountain has a tough test tonight up at The Boat, while Glenwood Springs comes to Gypsum for homecoming. The one thing that sticks in my brain is that Eagle Valley had quite the learning curve last year. Do the Devils continue that trend, in which case, while not playing poorly so far, they might be second-half team.
And, does anyone nice that Vail Christian is 12-0? We will not speak of the district tournament, as that would be looking ahead.
Both Eagle Valley High School and Battle Mountain High School face the same issue — finding some offense. I wasn’t at the Summit County game last week, but 10 points did it against the Tigers. It won’t against Glenwood Springs. Yes, the Demons are 0-5; the Demons remain a dangerous opponent.
Battle Mountain’s got to patch up the offensive line. Demetrius Parrish was running for his life last week. He’s a tough kid, but he can’t keep taking hits like that.
On the other side of the coin, good job defenses. Both kept their teams in their respective games last week. (Huskies, you need to wrap up a bit better.)
Speaking of defense, that’s the challenge for Vail Christian, ho-hum undefeated, is to shut down Gilpin County. We know the Saints can score. Can they play defense? Crank up, Blue Crush.
Huzzah to Barrett Jones of Eagle Valley and the VMS three of Ben Barron, Oliver Pesso and Sean Weller for their showings at state. My question is “How did some of these kids qualify for state?” (No, not the local four.)
Class 4A had a guy shoot 102-117. Class 3A had several players in the 100s. These people are worse than me at golf? That ain’t good, people. Everyone should play golf, but if I shoot lower than you, you do not belong at a state tournament.
And that brings us to new Freud Method of State Qualifying. Fifty percent of each region’s spots go to players based on scoring averages from the regular season. This isn’t hard because every course in the country has a rating and slope. This accounts for differences in course difficulty, such as playing Battlement Mesa from 6,000 yards and, say, the Eagle Ranch course with its state setup.
The other 50 percent of a region’s qualifiers come from the regional tournament’s best scores of players not already qualified. This prevents good golfers from having a bad day and being out of luck, like Eagle Valley’s Tanner Caldarola this year, and many others. It also allows those golfers who progress through the season, say, like Caldarola during his freshman year, to qualify. It’s not rocket science, people.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.