Huskies make steps in 43-31 loss to Moffat
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Battle Mountain football coach David Joyce and the rest of the Battle Mountain faithful walked away from Friday night’s home opener with distinctly different opinions.
Joyce was disappointed in what he viewed as another frustrating loss. Just about everyone else left, thinking “Not too bad.”
The coach understandably wanted a win instead of a 43-31 loss to Moffat County, but there was plenty of a reason for optimism in Eagle-Vail, even though the Huskies fell to 0-3.
After losing their first two games of the season to Summit County, 51-7 and to Palisade, 43-0, the Huskies actually led the visiting Bulldogs, 13-0, in the first quarter and were very much in the game at halftime, trailing 28-25.
Moffat, much more accustomed to blowout wins against Battle Mountain, needed to spring two big plays in the second half to earn its first win of the year.
“I’m not good with moral victories,” Joyce said. “If you’d have told me that we’d have only one touchdown in the second half, I’d have called you a liar.”
In an uncharacteristically close game against the Huskies, Moffat used two big plays at the start of the third quarter to break it open. On the first play from the line of scrimmage in the second half, Halen Raymond busted off a 71-yard run for a touchdown to push the Bulldogs out to a 36-25 lead.
After a Battle Mountain three-and-out, Moffat’s Pablo Salcido raced 90 yards virtually untouched, and that was essentially the game.
“We have a big-play offense, and our kids believe in it,” Bulldogs coach Kip Hafey said.
Raymond ended the night with 115 yards, while Salcido rumbled for 186.
The first half was pretty much composed of big plays by both teams. The Huskies came out with a seven-play, 74-yard touchdown drive to start the game. Freshman Chris Libertini started it with a 29-yard dash. Libertini and fellow frosh Reeve Sanders ended up playing most of the game in a pleasant surprise.
Battle Mountain’s option clicked nicely, culminating in a four-yard run from quarterback Parke Robbins who had a great game, running for three scores and throwing for two more.
Later in the quarter, the Huskies went for it on fourth-and-10 from the Moffat 23, and Robbins hooked up with Josh Kundolf for a 23-yard touchdown pass.
Moffat quarterback Matt Linsacum completed only one pass Friday, but it was a big one, 61-yards to Salcido, cutting into Battle Mountain’s lead. The Bulldogs took the lead with a short drive after the Huskies turned the ball over on downs.
Salcido struck again on Moffat’s next possession, rambling for 68 yards and a score. After three-straight touchdowns, the Huskies looked a bit stunned, but responded. Battle Mountain’s defense produced a turnover, and the offense obliged. Jon Simpson had the big play on the drive, a 38-yard run.
Robbins called his own number for two yards and the Huskies trailed only 21-19.
Moffat went with the reverse on the kickoff return and it paid off as Jasen Kettle had a wall of blockers on his way to the end zone.
Battle Mountain again was equal to the task with a 56-yard drive, capped by a Robbins pass to Sanders with 36 seconds left in the half.
Moffat’s defense, which had allowed 40-plus points in its two previous games, finally clamped down on the Huskies in the second half.
“We got a lot of pressure on them outside,” Haley said. “We had to do that to shut them down. We got our linebackers outside and they didn’t have an answer.”
Battle Mountain (0-2 in the 3A Slope) gets a break from the league Friday with a game at 1A Highland.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.