Huskies’ Joyce heads to 5A Doherty
EDWARDS – Battle Mountain football head coach David Joyce announced Wednesday to his team that he will be leaving the school to take the same position at 5A Doherty in Colorado Springs.
In his four seasons at Battle Mountain, Joyce took the Huskies from 0-10 his first season to 9-2 this fall, a season which included the school’s first playoff berth in 18 years.
“First off, it’s a great career opportunity,” Joyce said. “They’re a 5A program that is committed to football and getting to the top.”
Joyce will be taking defensive coordinator Jeff Krumlauf, who also serves as the school’s track and field coach, as well as special teams coordinator and JV coach Jim Schuppler, and quarterbacks coach Kawika Kalawe.
Joyce and Krumlauf will continue at Battle Mountain through the end of the school year, and that means Krum, as he is better known throughout Huskies circles, will be coaching the track team come spring.
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While it’s the opportunity to coach at the highest level Colorado high school football has to offer, leaving Battle Mountain was not an easy decision for any involved.
“I wasn’t going to leave Battle Mountain without finishing what I started,” Joyce said. “We, as a staff and a community with the players, helped turn this around. I thank (principal) Phil (Qualmann), and (athletic director) Ryan McKay for the opportunity to run the team. They helped me develop this turnaround and I am grateful for it.
“It’s heart-breaking. I haven’t cheated Battle Mountain out of a second of my time. I have worn Vegas gold literally every day for the last four years. I knew that this would come one day. It’s just one of those things where it’s tough to say good bye to something you love. It hurts.”
The feeling is mutual from the school’s administration.
“Well, I feel we’re indebted to coach Joyce,” McKay said. “We’re appreciative of everything he’s done for our football program as a coach and a teacher. We wish him all the best and continued success.”
Joyce and company will be taking over a program that has not seen much success in the last few years (6-33 in the last four seasons). And Doherty gets to play in the 5A South Conference, which includes likely the best team in the state – Valor Christian.
This will be an uphill climb for the Spartans, but Huskies fans have seen this movie.
Joyce arrived in Eagle-Vail – the campus was still there – in 2008 to the traditional chaos associated with Battle Mountain football.
After an 0-10 season in 2008, Joyce installed the no-huddle offense for 2009. The Huskies, down 33-6 at halftime, nearly came back in a 33-30 loss to Summit County. Two weeks later, the Huskies got into the win column for the first time in two years.
The big one came in Week 9 of 2009 season, when the Huskies beat archrival Eagle Valley, 14-7, for the first time since 1997. Joyce leaves Battle Mountain with a 3-1 record against the Devils, which is one of the truest measures of success on either side of the county in this rivalry, regardless of the sport.
The Huskies hit a bump in the road in 2010 when quarterback Jake Engle went down with an impact fracture to his femur – the Huskies were planning to air it out. The team was still competitive, and once Engle returned in Week 7, the Huskies went 2-2 with both losses coming in overtime.
In the meantime, Joyce was working with the squad in the weight room, a new concept to Battle Mountain football.
“My favorite Battle Mountain moment was probably the first day when we had the entire squad in the weight room in zero hour, when half the varsity team puked,” Joyce said. “That was the moment I knew we would be good. They were willing to do the work.”
While that might not be the postcard moment remembered fondly by all, the results came this fall. Battle Mountain thrashed its nonconference schedule for its first 3-0 start since 1997, running a double-wing offense, which is Eagle Valley’s calling card.
The Huskies lost a heartbreaker at Rifle, 22-21, on a 45-yard yard field goal with 6 seconds to go in the game. That did not deter the Huskies from ripping off six-straight wins in the Slope for a 9-1 regular season.
The crown jewel in that run was a 49-28 pasting of perennial state power Palisade on Homecoming.
That night was special on so many levels, especially for Krumlauf. He’s actually been at Battle Mountain longer than Joyce, starting with coach Pat Engle, about whom Krum remains effusive in his thanks for giving him a shot. Krumlauf has also worked his way to being the head coach of a successful track and field program for the last four years.
The Pailisade game, aside from being a big game, was the night Battle Mountain dedicated the north end zone of the football field to alumnus Todd Walker, who was murdered in Boulder in March. Krumlauf considered Walker, who wore No. 7 in football, his younger brother.
That the Huskies scored seven touchdowns, the two teams combined for 77 points and the game itself was on Oct. 7 wasn’t a coincidence to the defensive coordinator.
“This is an unbelievable community,” Krumlauf said. “The people at Battle Mountain, the administration, the coaches, and, most importantly the kids, that was the hardest part, leaving the juniors and sophomores that you love working with.”
Krumlauf, like Joyce, will be staying here through the end of the school year, and, in the former’s case, that means getting pumped for track season come spring. The girls are the defending 4A Slope champions, having won their first title since 1993. The boys last won that title in 2008, when Krum was an assistant on the squad.
“To say that we’re excited is an understatement,” he said.
As defensive coordinator, Krumlauf oversaw a renaissance with that unit. Previously Swiss cheese, the Huskies pitched two shutouts in 2011 and allowed just 16 points per game during the regular season.
“I will never forget going to Pat’s son’s Pop Warner game, and seeing him (Jake), Timmy (Licciardi), Carl (Hamrick), Sawyer (Bluhm), Reeve (Sanders) and all those guys, and thinking, ‘I will not leave until kids graduate,'” Krumlauf said. “It’s ironic that as they graduate, we be walking down that line with them.”
McKay said that a search for a new coach in football will start shortly.
“Now, it’s on us to move forward,” the athletic director said. “Obviously, we’ve got our work cut out for us, replacing a coach who’s done a great job for us.”
Battle Mountain football is graduating a ton of talent this spring, but Joyce doesn’t think that the cupboard is bare.
“The remaining classes to come are solid,” Joyce said. “We went undefeated at the younger levels this year. They’re going to have a super senior class next year that’s gone through the fires. The program is in a good state.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.