Freud: Devils, Huskies are looking ahead
Carpe diem, people.
We have the makings of some special teams this fall. We’ll be all over cross country with next week’s regional meet at Delta. For now, a look at the surprising Eagle Valley football team and the not-so surprising Battle Mountain soccer team:
• Although it’s a Vail Mountain School phrase, a “hoooo-raaah” to Eagle Valley football for beating Glenwood Springs, Friday. I love how coach John Ramunno always knows the answer to “Coach, when was the last time you guys beat …?” The coach was in the middle of a City Market in Glenwood Friday night, as his team was loading up on snacks, and didn’t hesitate in saying, “2005.”
Going into the way-back machine, Sean Matheson, Mike Medsker and Chris Harvey scored in a 35-10 Week 9 win seven years ago.
The Devils (5-1 overall and 3-1 in the 3A Slope) have finally popped up in The Denver Post as No. 10 in 3A, but that’s not the ranking that really counts. CHSAA issued its first set of wild-card points Monday, and Eagle Valley is No. 9 overall.
(As a refresher for Devils fans, the seven 3A conference winners get automatic playoff berths and home games in the first round of the playoffs. The rest of the 16-team field is filled out by nine wild cards. While the formula for wild-card points makes the quadratic equation look like kindergarten math, the gist is teams get more points for wins (and losses) against teams with more wins like Rifle (No. 2 at 6-0) and Palisade (No. 7, 5-1) than results against a team like Summit, which is 41st out 46 3A teams with a 1-5 record.)
• Ideally, the Devils keep it simple and win out, starting with Montezuma-Cortez Friday for Homecoming, win the league and stay home for the first round.
I’ll be honest. I don’t see that happening. The Devils host Palisade in Week 9 and are at Rifle in the regular-season finale. That’s a tall order. (Please prove me wrong, guys)
That said, if the playoffs started today, the Devils would be the fourth wild card out of nine in the playoffs. Of course, none of this means anything until the season’s done. The Devils are favored to win their next two games (Cortez and at Battle Mountain), but if they do, expect Eagle Valley to fall a bit in the wild-card standings. The formula cares not that Cortez is a Homecoming game or Battle Mountain is a rivalry game. The formula sees that Cortez and Battle Mountain have just one win between them.
Likewise, a win over Palisade or Rifle would be huge for the opposite reason. The Bulldogs and Bears have combined for 11 wins already this year. Also, everyone in the land of red, black and silver is rooting for teams like Glenwood, Delta, Steamboat, Arvada and Cedaredge to do well as the season progresses. The better records owned by the teams which Eagle Valley has beaten, the more points the Devils get.
• If you’re wondering, three teams got in at 6-4 last year – Frederick, Mountain View and Palmer Ridge. Though Frederick ended up making the semifinals, 6-4 probably isn’t the best way to go.
• Just win, Eagle Valley football.
• Sun rises in the east, Battle Mountain soccer wins league. Oh, the monotony of Huskies soccer. It was fun to head over the pass to see the boys clinch. First off, I pull into the parking lot, and the person I see is Fred Koetteritz, who, of course, was a coach and athletic director at Battle Mountain for a while. Phil Tronsrue was announcing the starting lineups. It was old home week.
• Interesting … The Huskies barely celebrated. There was a loud cheer as the whistle blew. But then the guys thanked their fans, shook hand and got on the bus. Definitely a sign of high expectations.
• OK, Summit County made its mission Monday to stop Joe LyBarger. The Tigers were successful. Good for them. What this brings to light, though, is that Huskies soccer has many other ways of beating a team than with No. 6. That bodes well.
LyBarger’s stats jump out at you and any other coach who might be checking maxpreps.com for a scouting report come playoff time. However, there are eight other guys on the active roster with two goals or more. This is a nice “pick your poison” situation for Battle Mountain.
• I’d bet LyBarger will see more of the same in the playoffs. That’s not only a challenge to guys like Alex Trujillo, Roberto Diaz and Heivan Garcia and many others to step up. It’s also a test for LyBarger to handle the defensive pressure he will likely see. Joe may not keep up his goal-scoring pace of the regular season, but can he still be involved in the offense by distributing, drawing the coverage and then passing. With 11 assists so far this year, this will be something to watch.
• OK, was it just me or, despite the chilly weather, did it seem like Battle Mountain was playing on a surface suited for indoor soccer at Summit? That’s what happens when you usually watch Battle Mountain soccer on its 80-yard home pitch. (Summit was only 63 yards wide.) While the Huskies acquitted themselves well in that band box, they are so better suited to play on a big field and it’s why they need to have home-field advantage for the playoffs for the first three rounds.
• I know the Huskies are ranked No. 2 in The Denver Post poll. (You think the Huskies saw that they were one spot ahead of a team called Evergreen?) That, however, doesn’t necessarily translate to a postseason No. 2 seed, or anything in the top four, which means being home for the first three rounds.
• Now that the league is sewn up, we can say it – Battle Mountain must win its final three games and go 15-0 in the regular season. In theory, the schedule is favorable – at Rifle today, at Basalt Saturday and home for Eagle Valley next week. While it has a good postseason pedigree and is a known quantity to the Front Range, Battle Mountain cannot give any excuse – even a tie – to the seeding committee to seed the Huskies lower than fourth.
• Just win.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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