Huskies hang tough with Palisade |

Huskies hang tough with Palisade

PALISADE – Huskies football coach Pat Engle isn’t exactly a big fan of moral victories.He got one Friday night in Grand Junction, though. His Huskies stayed with No. 2 Palisade in a 26-0 loss.Generally, Palisade-Battle Mountain football games are ugly with the Bulldogs putting up 40-something points by the middle of the second quarter. That wasn’t the case Friday night as Palisade led just 19-0 at the half and scored just once in the final 24 minutes.”Honestly for us, it was a hell of a football game,” Engle said. “We didn’t come in planning to lose. But to play the No. 2 team in the state and have their coaches come up to us after the game and compliment us on the way we played and how we competed is a moral victory.”Battle Mountain put up a great defensive effort, winning the turnover battle, 2-0. T.J. Simpson had an interception and Chad Wilkison crushed a Palisade runner for a fumble. Wilkison also did a lot of work on the ground offensively for the Huskies.Engle was effusive in his praise for his defensive line of Punky Carlos, Jamie Hijmans, Mitch Gray, Zach Steinbach and Johnny Wahrer. He also had props for Joe Ortega, Kyle Lefler, Andrew Martinez and Todd Walker on defense.Devils or Bulldogs?Battle Mountain has now seen both Palisade and Eagle Valley, both 8-1, who will be playing in Gypsum Friday for the 3A Slope title. Your thoughts, Coach?”The first thing I would say is that we’d like to have game No. 5 back (vs. Eagle Valley), but that’s not going to happen,” Engle said. “I would say Palisade is a physical football team. They were playing a Battle Mountain High School football team that was 2-6 and now is 2-7. Now, Palisade gets a chance to play an 8-1 team for the league title. If they cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s, I’m a pretty big believer in tradition. I would guess right now that there’s not a better football program than theirs in 3A. If I eat my words, I eat my words.”Battle Mountain closes out the season Friday at Phelan Field against Rifle at 7 p.m. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614, or, Colorado

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