Huskies run past the Devils, 30-21
Battle Mountain football takes out Eagle Valley, 30-21
EDWARDS — Battle Mountain will now be extending football season until at least February.
The Huskies put a bow on the regular season with a 30-21 victory over archrival Eagle Valley to finish the season with an improbable three-game winning streak.
And since they’re on a roll, why stop because of the mere formality of the season ending?
Anyone up for Valor Christian next week?
“That’s what I said at the end,” Huskies coach Jim Schuppler said. “I wish it wasn’t over I love these seniors. What a performance by these seniors.”
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So Huskies athletic director Gentry Nixon will get on the phone on Monday and start scheduling games because she’s shown such a knack for it.
While, of course, it’s joke and the season is over, Battle Mountain can say it made steps toward becoming a competitive program this season. In head coach Jim Schuppler’s three previous seasons in Edwards the Huskies were 5-10 against 3A teams, and that record includes a forfeit win over Glenwood Springs.
Despite all the trials and travails of COVID-19, rescheduled games, an 0-4 start in which Battle Mountain was outscored 180-29, and a shorter schedule (seven games as opposed to 10), the Huskies (3-4) recorded three wins against schools 3A or larger (Liberty, Green Mountain and Eagle Valley) this year.
“We recognized that we’re a better team than we were showing,” said Battle Mountain quarterback Kai Haggen, who had a rather large night. “We were killing ourselves with turnovers and mistakes, things we could clean up. Once we cleaned them up, we feel like we could beat anyone.”
But is this the long-awaited turnaround for Battle Mountain football?
“Yes and no,” Schuppler said. “Yes, it’s always a big game against Eagle Valley, no matter what. And no, because nothing’s given. We’re not given the right to win next year because we won this year. We’ll be back to work.”
Battle Mountain’s game plan was pretty simple — run, run and run some more. The major wrinkle was Kai Haggen. The Battle Mountain senior quarterback was much more involved in the attack than usual.
“I’m not dumb,” Schuppler said. “We ride the hot hand and we’ve got a lot of athletes on the team, but Kai took it upon himself tonight and I just step out of the way. My hat’s off to him.”
Haggen took the first snap from scrimmage and ran for 9 yards, starting Battle Mountain’s first scoring drive. As silly as that may sound, that might have been the play of the game. Haggen had running room all night and Schuppler kept going back to it.
No. 16 ended up running for three touchdowns and throwing for another.
Back to the first drive, Milan Smith picked up 8 more and Elijah Morales got in on the act with a 21-yard scamper.
Tanner Roberts kept it going with two rushes for 16 yards and Haggen called his number for a 15-yard score.
While Eagle Valley struggled offensively during the first half, Battle Mountain’s third drive lasted 15 plays ending with a 31-yard field goal from Josh Keiser. During that sequence, Haggen found Morales over the top for 21 yards.
The Huskies would come back to that play. After Battle Mountain’s defense stopped the Devils again deep in their territory, the Huskies took over on the Devils’ 49.
Three plays later, Haggen hit a wide-open Roberts in the end zone for a 35-yard touchdown.
Down 17-0, Eagle Valley answered to start the second half. The only problem is that the Devils’ scoring drive took 7 minutes, 44 seconds. Eagle Valley converted twice on fourth down and Lisandro Aguilar capped it with a 1-yard plunge to cut the lead to 17-7.
Battle Mountain was more than happy to drain the rest of the third quarter. A lot of this drive was Haggen charging forward and using his big body to gain and extra yard or two at the end of each carry. Haggen took it 15 yards to the house for 23-7 margin with 10:43 left in the game.
The Devils kept fighting, but their lack of passing game Friday night cost them down by two scores. Eagle Valley quarterback Will Geiman took a fourth-and-1 from the Devils’ 49 for 51 yards and a touchdown with 8:38 remaining in regulation. What’s more, Eagle Valley got the 2-point conversion — Geiman to Erich Petersen — to close it to 23-15.
But with no answer for the Huskies on offense, Eagle Valley couldn’t get any closer than one score. The Huskies recovered the ensuing onside kick. As the Devils took two of their three second-half timeouts and Haggen was still able to rumble 35 yards for his third score of the night and a 30-15 lead.
Geiman to Eric Hasley closed it to 30-21 with 3:42 left in the season, but the Huskies stuffed the 2-point attempt.