Huskies football gives valiant effort
EAGLE-VAIL – Bearing no resemblance to last year’s 78-0 loss, the Huskies threw down with Sanford Friday night in a game they might have won had they converted a few more opportunities.
Behind an inspired offensive line, Junior Martinez ran for 274 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries in the Huskies’ 30-14 loss to the Indians.
“He was the first to credit the offensive line. He said it was the best job they’ve done blocking in all his four years,” said Battle Mountain head football coach Pat Engle. “They did a phenomenal job. They wanted to run the ball. So, they dug down and they did it.”
After Battle Mountain’s defense pulled off a gutsy, defensive stand, Martinez took the Huskies’ first offensive play for 21 yards behind the blocks of Ben Smith and Cody Stackpole.
The Huskies picked up a couple of first downs, but fumbled on third-down-and-a-long-five yards.
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The Indians next drive landed them on the Huskies’ 45-yard-line for a crucial fourth-and-five.
Sanford fooled the Huskies with a flawless fake punt, and the Indians scored on a touchdown pass from Indians quarterback Mitch Canty to fullback Clay Reynolds.
The Huskies scored a minor victory by denying Sanford’s two-point-conversion attempt.
On their next possession, the Huskies drove the ball for more than 20 yards before fumbling the ball again.
The Indians took their next drive down to the Huskies’ 12-yard-line, where Battle Mountain mounted a huge, defensive stand.
Martinez led the Huskies to three first downs before they were stopped, and Huskies quarterback Derek Rush punted the ball inside the Indians’ five-yard-line.
But, Sanford marched 95 yards for a touchdown connection between Canty and Indians tight end Ira Bailey.
The Huskies had 8.5 seconds left in the half, and 62 yards to go.
Battle Mountain handed the ball off to Martinez, who broke a few tackles and found himself in the open.
Martinez sprinted 59 yards, before he stumbled and was tackled from behind to end the half, 14-0 Indians.
“Our kids deserve to win. They’ve been playing hard, and it’s just tough,” said Engle.
Sanford came out roaring in the second half, scoring touchdowns from 15 and 41 yards out.
The Huskies finally bit back, after a couple of first-down runs from Rush, on a 63-yard touchdown run by Martinez.
Battle Mountain held Sanford on the next set of downs, and Smith blocked the Sanford punt, giving the Huskies the ball on the Indians’ 13-yard line.
The Huskies failed to convert, but got the ball back a few minutes later. Rush returned the punt, and was tackled out of bounds by Sanford and injured on a play which should have drawn flags, but didn’t.
Martinez and the Battle Mountain offensive line pushed the Huskies up past midfield, setting up a 42-yard touchdown pass from T.J. Montoya to Huskies wideout Alex Vu.
Martinez converted the two-point attempt, and the game ended, 30-14 in favor of the Indians.
“We’re a young team that’s learning to win,” said Engle. “It’s a bitter pill to swallow sometimes, but they’re a great, classy group of kids.”
The Huskies travel to Glenwood Springs Friday.
Andrew Harley can be contacted at (970) 949-0555 ext. 610 or at email@example.com.