Huskies football extra, Week 2
Postgame was really interesting after Battle Mountain’s 42-0 blanking of Roaring Fork Friday night.
Huskies coach David Joyce wasn’t exactly peachy, and this is worth noting because in past years, if Battle Mountain beat anybody, 42-0, all involved would be shooting off fireworks.
“No, I’m not happy,” the coach said. “No disrespect to Roaring Fork – they played hard. Their kids never quit. Their kids had cramps and injuries and kept coming back, but we did not execute in the first half.
“I think (quarterback Jake Engle) was a little amped up because we knew we were going to come out and throw the ball all over the place in the first half. Once he got hit a few times, we got a little better. Maybe, we need to open with the double-wing to get him hit.”
Welcome to the strange new world that is Battle Mountain football. The result was just fine in the end. The Huskies thumped a team they should thump, especially if they are to live up to their ambitions for 2011.
Yet Joyce is right that his team did not play well offensively in the first half, and it was especially alarming that Battle Mountain, with its aerial talent, could not complete a pass. I’ll bet Engle was a little too fired up and was over-throwing guys. In Engle’s defense, when he hit his receivers, they weren’t catching the darn ball.
In the long run, hopefully, the Huskies got that out of their system as the schedule ramps up in the next four weeks – at The Classical Academy, at Rifle, at Glenwood Springs, home for Palisade. (That’s a tough road, huh?)
• In the meantime, the defense was fun to watch. I don’t keep many stats merely because parents will call me up and yell at me that I’m not giving their kids big enough numbers – ah, the joys of being a small-town sports writer. But plus-4 in turnovers Friday night and plus-8 in the first two weeks? That works.
On a highly unscientific level, just watching from the box, I’m not seeing much YAC (yards after catch). I’m seeing the D dole out some hard hits. I’m seeing the guys wrap and sniff out opposing plays. Good stuff, boys.
If you haven’t heard, the north end zone has been dedicated to Huskies alumnus Todd Walker, who was killed this spring in a robbery attempt down in Boulder. The gist is no opposing team scores there.
“We really pulled it together this year,” linebacker Carl Hamrick said. “We had a few (graduation) losses, but it brought us together. The north end zone, that’s Todd’s end zone. We tee it up all day. We don’t let anyone score there. We run off that.”
“We went to a different defense to utilize our athletes better and we’re still in the learning process,” Joyce said. “Each week, it seems like from (the) Basalt (scrimmage) to Summit to tonight, we’re playing faster with our reads. We’re getting a good run or pass read so we’re not getting fooled on the pass. That’s why we’re coming up and getting interceptions. They’re physical.”
• Eric Weiss came up the fumble in the second quarter when the Rams got down to the Huskies’ 7. He didn’t even know who popped the ball lose, but it was a big play. Weiss had two picks and fumble recovery, and returned his second pick for a touchdown only to have it called back.
“My best friend, Jordan (Harrison), had to get the block in the back,” Weiss joked.
As it turned out, The Huskies needed only one play to score there, Engle to Reeve Sanders for 30 yards and six.
• The turning point ended up being that aforementioned fumble. Showing the depth of Battle Mountain’s backfield, it was Blaize Olle with the 82-yard run that seemed to jump-start the Huskies.
“Normally, I’ve got to cut back,” Olle said of the play. “The hole was just there. It was wide open, didn’t have to make any cut. I just ran forward. Honestly, if it been Chris Lib (Libertini), he would have made that a touchdown. I was getting halfway through and I was just, ‘I’m so tired. I haven’t run this far in a long time. Maybe I should have done track.’ It was all the line and Jimmy O’Rourke came up and blew up a linebacker. No skill involved at all.”
And, yes, Blaize, you will be running track now that defensive coordinator Jeff Krumlauf read this.
• From around the Slope: Montrose 42, Glenwood 0; Summit County 28, Eagle Valley 12; Delta 24, Montezuma-Cortez 14; Rifle 21, Coal Ridge 14. D’Evelyn at Palisade is today. Steamboat Springs and Moffat County had byes.
• Congratulations to the Huskies for ending what I call Phase I of the season. You beat two teams you should beat and did so convincingly. (By the way, Roaring Fork won this game last year, 42-20, and that’s worth noting.)
Now, it’s time to figure out what the Huskies have. Welcome to Phase II. The Classical Academy, next week’s opponent down on the Front Range, ripped Battle Mountain, 42-7, last year in Edwards. Said Titans just missed the playoffs as a wild card by one spot. This is the first real test of the season for Huskies, especially with regard to the p-word, which I will go all Jim Mora If I type.
“Coaches tell us to play a faceless opponent every week and I’m betting that’s how we’re going to do it,” Olle said. “They’re going to tell us their offensive scheme, some weak points, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to look at them as a faceless opponent.”
“We expect a high-octane game,” Joyce said.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.