Huskies beat Sailors in OT for huge win
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Aspen may be the defending Class 4A state champions, but if the early season results are any indication, then the Battle Mountain High School boys’ lacrosse team may be this year’s alpha dog.
The Huskies, ranked No. 7 in 4A, already own a win over No. 10 Aspen (6-2 last week). Saturday in Steamboat Springs, Battle Mountain added another major victory on Saturday with an 11-10 overtime win against the No. 5-ranked Sailors at Gardner Field.
“We know how important this was for us,” Huskies coach Jerry Nichols said of the win. “We really wanted to come out of this with a victory so we can take the first step in our goal to win conference and hopefully carry that momentum into the playoffs. So, it was a big win for us.”
Two in a row vs. Sailors
The win is the second consecutive for Battle Mountain over Steamboat. The Huskies defeated the Sailors 13-9 last season, a first for the program. So far this season, Battle Mountain has already recorded three league wins — the other coming against Eagle Valley — with its only loss a 19-9 defeat to top-ranked Dawson in the season opener.
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The loss sent Steamboat to 1-2 overall and 1-1 in league play.
“You can’t really put it on one thing,” Steamboat coach Jay Lattimore said of the loss. “I told the boys, this loss should hurt just a little bit so we remember how this feels and we can work hard to not put ourselves in this position again.”
For much of Saturday’s game, it felt as if the Sailors would come out on top. They led 3-1 after a quarter and extended the lead to 4-1 early in the second quarter. Battle Mountain sophomore Charlie Morrow scored a crucial goal late in the first half to cut Steamboat’s lead to 5-3 at halftime.
“Halftime was a little scary,” Morrow said. “We were down two, I think. We were a little worried there, but we played harder and picked up our game.”
Morrow was largely responsible for Battle Mountain’s rally. The Sailors continued to stay a step ahead and led 7-5 late in the third quarter, before a goal by Morrow was followed by a goal by senior Cole Delain to tie the game early in the fourth.
The teams traded a pair of goals before Steamboat pulled ahead 10-8 with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. The final two goals were scored by Steamboat senior Drew Williamson.
Penalties proved costly for Steamboat over that final two minutes, however, as Battle Mountain took advantage of the extra man. Delain scored with 84 seconds remaining to get the Huskies within a goal, and Morrow found net with 36 seconds remaining to force overtime.
“Penalties definitely hurt us a little bit, but there were opportunities all throughout the game for us not to be in that position,” Lattimore said. “They made some good adjustments and they were able to put a couple of balls in the net and kind of just take some momentum from us.”
Steamboat controlled possession early in the overtime period, but a pair of turnovers and costly unnecessary roughness penalty created a man-advantage for Battle Mountain in the final minute. Continuing his hot play, Morrow found net with 25 seconds remaining in the first overtime to end the game.
“To watch him make that move at the end and get that final goal was pretty special,” Nichols said of Morrow. “These guys are a resilient bunch of kids. We have a lot of young players — a lot of freshmen, a lot of sophomores — out there that are battling really, really hard right now. To have those young guys be such key figures for us, it means a lot to the program.”
Morrow led the team with five goals, matched by Steamboat’s Williamson.
Battle Mountain (3-1) will play at Glenwood Springs on Tuesday, while the Sailors (1-2) will host Vail Mountain School at 4 p.m. Monday, a makeup from Friday’s game that was postponed because of weather.