Huskies get ready for D’Evelyn
EDWARDS – Battle Mountain football practice was rather chilly Tuesday afternoon.
That’s OK. There was practice Tuesday, which is quite exciting since the Huskies are in the playoffs for the first time since 1993.
“It beats preparing for an awards banquet,” joked defensive coordinator Jeff Krumlauf as he was running all over the turf Tuesday, preparing his charges.
Battle Mountain is the ninth seed and faces No. 8 D’Evelyn Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Trailblazer Stadium in Lakewood.
“It’s a little different. We’ve got the lights on and everything, but it’s senior year,” Reeve Sanders said. “You don’t mind it at all. You want to keep it going as long as you can.”
And do we think anyone and everyone involved with Battle Mountain football is jacked? Huskies head coach David Joyce was getting calls at 7 a.m. Sunday, asking him if he’d heard yet whom the Huskies were playing. (For future reference, people, CHSAA’s seeding committee isn’t even awake at 7 a.m.)
The Huskies’ brain trust was expecting Evergreen, so D’Evelyn was a bit of a surprise, but it’s the playoffs. Who cares?
“I was just waiting for that first call of who we were going to play,” linebacker Carl Hamrick said. “I was sitting with John (Morella) and we were pretty stoked. It’s going to be a good challenge.”
Indeed. D’Evelyn is 8-2. The Jaguars’ two losses are to Palisade, 45-35, in Week 2, and to No. 2 Kennedy, 21-13. Other results of note for D’Evelyn are a 17-14 win over No. 12 Holy Family and a 42-7 thumping of Summit County.
By the way, Palisade gets Evergreen in the lidlifter of Saturday’s Trailblazer Stadium doubleheader at 11 a.m. Rifle is at home for No. 13 Roosevelt.
D’Evelyn certainly presents the Huskies with a different look. The Jags throw, throw and throw some more. Caleb Flack, who missed more than a month with an injury, completed 80 of 127 passes for 1,296 yards with 16 touchdown passes compared to just four interceptions.
Cody Marvel, theoretically the back-up quarterback, didn’t play like one. He was 130-for-201 for 2,117 yards with 25 throws for six and just five picks. Marvel threw 49 times in D’Evelyn’s game with Palisade. By comparison, Huskies quarterback Jake Engle attempted only 65 passes all season.
D’Evelyn averaged 351 yards per game through the air during the regular season, while Battle Mountain was good for 326 yards on the ground, so looking at the numbers, Saturday’s game looks like a classic contrast in styles.
Joyce said that Battle Mountain did work on a Texas Christian University-style defense at a football camp before the season, so the Huskies aren’t exactly cramming for the pass this week.
“I think we’ll be OK with the coverages we’re going to throw at them, mixing up the man and the zone coverages with some of our stunts up front,” Joyce said. “It’s definitely not the Western Slope style of football.”
“As a DB, we love defending the pass,” Sanders said. “It’s kind of exciting. We’ll just follow the game plan.”
What is interesting is trying to figure out what Battle Mountain will do on offense. A conventional approach would be to have the Huskies play Western Slope football, running the ball early and often to win time of possession and keep the Jaguars’ potent offense off the field.
Not surprisingly, Joyce is playing it close to the vest.
“I’m thinking I want to score with big plays but if it requires us to grind it out, we’ll be willing to do that,” he said. “But I’d rather have big plays.”
The Huskies haven’t been to the show since 1993. They haven’t won a playoff game since 1992, a 27-24 victory over Manitou Springs.
So while Battle Mountain is singularly focused in practice, it’s an exciting time to be a Battle Mountain football player.
“I’ve talked to quite a few kids and they said they were going to go down Saturday,” Sanders said. “So hopefully, we get quite a few fans there.”
“I can’t even explain it right now,” Hamrick said. “I’m just trying to live these last couple of games to the fullest.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
Who: Battle Mountain (9-1) at D’Evelyn (8-2)
Where: Trailblazer Stadium, Lakewood
When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.