Huskies fall in finale, 56-27
EAGLE-VAIL ” A few seniors from the Battle Mountain football team stayed on Phelan Field after Friday night’s season finale against Steamboat Springs.
After a long season, they still wanted to play. It’s difficult to play football at Battle Mountain, and neither Friday night, a 56-27 loss to the playoff-bound Sailors, nor the rest of 2007 was an exception.
One really has to love football to play for the Huskies, and the 12 seniors in Battle Mountain playing their final game Friday night certainly do.
“It’s a whole lot more than football,” said Battle Mountain coach Jason Sedlak, whose team finished 1-9. “They’re out there learning lessons which will hopefully take them very far in life ” perseverance, hard work, teamwork, dedication. That’s what the game is about. That’s why I coach. That’s why my coaches coach. Hopefully, that’s what our kids will take from it.”
With the win, Steamboat finished at 7-3 overall and 6-2 in the 3A Slope and will await the postseason bracket on Sunday.
The Sailors got a good run-through for the upcoming state playoffs. Battered by injuries, the Huskies had little to counter with, but played solidly, nevertheless.
Battle Mountain stopped Steamboat on its first drive, limiting the Sailors to a 32-yard field goal by Ben DeLine. Running back Jay Hanley got the visitors going in the second quarter with a 27-yard scoring burst. Hanley led all rushers with 141 yards in 13 carries.
After another field goal from DeLine (44 yards), Steamboat’s defense got the its final score of the first halfhalf. Playing both ways, Hanley sacked Huskies quarterback Jeremy Windham, recovered the fumble and returned it for a touchdown.
Battle Mountain replied with a spectacular 91-yard kickoff return from Ascher Robbins.
In the second half, Steamboat’s rushing game took over the outcome of the game, while Battle Mountain put up some fight through the air. Sailors quarterback Austin Hinder rolled 38 yards for a 27-7 lead. Windham countered with a nice 22-yard strike to his favorite target, Todd Walker, who played gamely with a broken nose.
With Walker primarily playing wide receiver, Windham had a productive day, completing 15 of 33 passes for 233 yards.
Steamboat extended its lead to 42-14 behind a 4-yard pass from Hinder to Cody Harris and a 14-yard scamper from Hinder. Fraser Egan rolled in from 16 yards in the fourth quarter to make it 49-14.
Sedlak reached into his bag of tricks for the half-back option to rally the Huskies. Windham flipped the ball to Walker, who still had plenty of arm to hit Ryan Hedrick for a touchdown.
Battle Mountain’s Colby Childers recovered the ensuing onside kick. From there, it was Windham to Walker for a final time this season ” this time for 44 yards.
“The nature of this team is that we’re very young,” Steamboat coach Aaron Finch said. “We have our moments of spectacular-ness, and we have our moments of “Oh, my God, what was that?’ Tonight’s game was a bit of that. Battle Mountain did a good job coming out for their last game and playing hard to the last whistle.”
Steamboat finished the season in third place in the rugged Western Slope, behind Glenwood Springs and Palisade, and ahead of Rifle. All four teams will find out their playoff opponents on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Huskies honored their 12 seniors ” Kyle Woolley, Abel Medrano, Ascher Robbins (Parke is still a sophomore), Walker, Miah King, Windham, Taylor Beairsto, Hedrick, Sergio Sandoval, Kristjan Gannon, Billy Shue and Bart Clark ” and their parents at halftime.
“It’s a great group of kids,” Sedlak said. “Their first year in this program as freshmen was my first year at Battle Mountain. I’ve kind of learned and grown with them. I’ve seen them come from small little freshmen to seniors who are ready to go onto college, and hopefully, do great things.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.