Huskies football starts anew at Summit
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” The Battle Mountain football has heard it. They know what the student body, the community, and yes, the media is saying.
The Huskies know no one expects a thing from them in 2008. That having been said, they really don’t give a hoot about preseason predictions.
Yes, Battle Mountain is small in numbers and size. But the Huskies love football, and starting Friday night at 7 at Summit County, they’re going to play, regardless of anyone’s opinions.
“I don’t care what anybody says,” lineman Chase Olle said. “I came from Texas and football is big, regardless of whether you’re good or bad. Everyone plays, all my friends. It doesn’t bother me either way.”
“There’s definitely motivation,” quarterback Parke Robbins added. “I don’t care what people think. The only people who matter are the ones on the team.”
When the Huskies take the field in Farmer’s Korner, they’ll have a new coach in David Joyce and a new offensive system ” the option. On the other side of the coin, they will still be battling the conundrum facing the program for years. The team has struggled mightily since moving up to Class 3A in the mid-1990s, and without success ” Battle Mountain last made the playoffs in 1994 ” kids don’t come out for the sport.
The Huskies have just four seniors in Olle, Lucas Brown, Wes Stephens and Roman Lopez, and will rely on them for leadership in what it is likely going to be a transitional year. Joyce feels that there’s reason for optimism in Eagle-Vail because there’s talent in the pipeline.
“The positive I see is that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent in the junior and freshmen classes. The talent is there. We’ve just got to develop it,” Joyce said. “We’re low on numbers, and that’s limiting us right now, but it’s coming. It’s just weathering the storm until we get to calm waters.”
With a small squad, the Huskies will have mostly the same guys playing on both sides of the ball. That’s no problem, according to Olle.
“It’s really easy. I love football. It doesn’t bother me, although doing kickoffs are a pain,” he said honestly.
The Huskies have Mason Babcock and Olle on the left side of the offensive line with Stephens at center. R.D. Cordova and Lopez form the right side of the line in the option.
Robbins will take the snaps and can hand off to fullback Jon Simpson and tail back Josh Kundolf. Through the air, Robbins has big targets in Cody Hervert and Pancho Meneses as well as flanker Mike Harland.
While naturally no one keeps scores in scrimmages, Joyce was pleased with how his team moved the ball in its run-through with Aspen last weekend.
The Huskies will be running out of a 50-front on defense. Olle is the nose guard with Simpson and Babcock at the tackles and Lopez and Parker Lathrop on the ends.
Cordova, a returning all-leaguer, and Stephens are the linebackers in the set. Look for Jeff Ledon and Harland on the corners and Hervert and Jake Engle at safety. Hervert will do the kickoffs and Robbins is the punter.
Battle Mountain went 1-9 overall last year and 1-7 in the brutally-deep 3A Slope with the team’s only win coming at Cortez. The Huskies have an equally difficult schedule this year with its nonleague games against Summit, which just missed the 3A playoffs last season, and 1A qualifier Highlands in Week 4.
The Huskies face a tough start to the season with road games against the aforementioned Tigers Friday and then Palisade, followed by a home game against Moffat County. Joyce hopes that his team can weather the early storm, stay injury-free and learn the system during the early part of the season.
“We’ve got to get through those games healthy,” Joyce said. “If you look at the second half of the season, there are teams we can beat. We just have to have the 11, 12 or 13 key (players) in place to get to those games.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.