Huskies football extra |

Huskies football extra

We start the first edition of Huskies Football Extra with the message that this year’s Battle Mountain football team has a career in music if the football doesn’t work out. The gang was doing “Shout” in the locker room after its 46-6 win over Summit County Friday night, complete with moves from “Animal House.”

Does this make Chris Libertini Bluto Blutarsky? Don’t answer that.

We take you to the coach – David Joyce.

“It was a great way to start the season. We gave up that big play early and I was pretty frustrated because I knew they were going to try to hit us there. Once we shored that up, they didn’t have many options to go to.

“We were flying to the ball. We started wearing on them because we were hitting them. We talked about that all week. If they catch a ball, three guys are hitting them. If they’re running the ball, three guys are hitting them. They’re going to get yards, but three guys are going to hit them. Eventually, they’re not going to want to play any more.”

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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

Overall, it was an outstanding start. I can’t remember a Battle Mountain opener being so full of hype – after all what was there to hype?- and the team dealt well with the situation. It is important to keep in mind that this is not the be all and end all for Battle Mountain football. There are nine more weeks in the season. (I will not even consider discussing the p-word, so don’t go there.)

Summit County is definitely better than it was last year, but no where close to the best opponent the Huskies will face this season. Nonetheless, the Huskies pounded the Tigers like the good team they aspire to be.

News and notes:

• That was a good start: Reeve Sanders goes 96 yards for a touchdown on the opening kickoff. Wow. Battle Mountain’s coaching staff actually designed an inverted wedge for that play – let Summit flood the middle and let Sanders turn it outside.

“My heart was beating when the ball was in the air,” Sanders said. “Once I got it, the hole was there.”

We do have to give No. 27 a little grief for nearly tripping about 25 yards from the end zone.

“A little bit of turf got me, I guess,” Sanders joked.

• De-fense: Again, Summit is not the standard by all things are measured, but then again, it’s been a while since we’ve seen Battle Mountain play good defense. Here is happy stat No. 1: The Huskies were plus-4 in turnover ratio. That might even make Krum smile. (That would be defensive coordinator Jeff Krumlauf.)

Seriously, This is something we’ll be watching all season. We know the Huskies can score points, but can they stop the other team from doing the same? Friday night the answer was yes. And it was particularly important when Summit scored after Sanders’ return. It was 7-6 with 10:13 left in the first quarter and we were all thinking this was going to be a track meet.

• Ain’t it great to be a Devil?: I’d been to practice earlier this week so I knew that the double-wing was coming. It’s still really bizarre to see Battle Mountain running it. And who would have thought that quarterback Jake Engle would end up throwing just one pass? Engle’s passing line was line 0-for-1, 0 yards. Joyce did say that Engle will see a little more action in the weeks to come.

“That was not the plan,” the coach said of the running game. “The plan was to get them off balance with the double wing. Once they tried to adjust, then we’d change. They never really made any adjustments so we didn’t stop running it.”

• Halftime flashback: Battle Mountain led 21-6 and the coaches and the players alike made sure there would be no repeat of last year’s Rifle debacle.

“I made sure that the seniors knew that the second half would set the tone,” Joyce said. “They responded. We’ve been in this situation before against multiple Western Slope teams. Regardless, we were going to finish the game. They did.”

“We’ve been in that predicament before,” senior Timmy Licciardi said. “That’s always a thought. But this team believes. We’re going for all four quarters. We’re going to finish games.”

Three touchdowns in the third quarter will do that.

• Speaking of Licciardi, he was all over the place with a fumble recovery on a bad Summit punt snap and blocking another punt. This goes back to the defense portion of this missive. The Huskies were around the ball all night.

• Scores from the Slope: Holy Family 52, Steamboat 6; Rifle 48, Grand Valley 7; Coal Ridge 28, Eagle Valley 0; Aspen 32, Moffat 28; Palisade 24, Central 7; Glenwood 33 Basalt 7; Delta, bye.

• It’s Roaring Fork at home next week for the Huskies. We remind you that the Rams did a number on Battle Mountain down at Carbondale last year to the tune of 42-20.

“We have fun tonight. You enjoy the game,” Licciardi said. “Starting tomorrow, you start thinking about Roaring Fork and reflecting on this game and what we could have done better. Next week, it’s all Roaring Fork.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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