Huskies survive Delta scare, 41-27
EDWARDS – Battle Mountain football dialed up No. 7 on Friday night.
We’re not talking No. 7, Jake Engle, though the first time he touched the ball, he completed a 43-yard bomb in Friday night’s game against Delta. We’re not even talking Reeve Sanders (No. 27), who returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown for the second time this season Friday night.
The Huskies earned win No. 7 of the 2011 season by squeezing by Delta, 41-27, in a sloppy affair.
Nonetheless, seven wins is a big deal because that usually punches a team’s ticket to the state playoffs, aka the promised land for Battle Mountain, which hasn’t been there since 1994. (Official disclaimer: The Huskies are not guaranteed a spot, but the history is pretty good here. Battle Mountain also probably doesn’t feel like stopping here with Senior Night next week against Steamboat Springs, not to mention a date for Week 10 at Eagle Valley.)
The Huskies put on a bit of a special-teams display in the first quarter. After Sanders’ opening return, the Huskies’ Chris Libertini blocked a Delta punt. And if you’ve been following Battle Mountain football this year, it should be no surprise that Timmy Licciardi was right there for the scoop-and-score and a 14-0 lead.
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Delta cracked the end zone on a 53-yard pass from Mitch Whiteside to Taylor Smith. But Delta tried an onside kick, and Battle Mountain’s Keenan Bowman ended up recovering the ball on the Panthers’ 38-yard line. Sanders rumbled 34 yards, and Zach Guida went the final 4.
Delta got its first sustained drive in the second quarter, capped by a 2-yard plunge from Whiteside, and added a 36-yard field goal from Miguel Ramirez to pull within 20-17 with 5:43 left in the first half.
The Huskies’ offense, which hadn’t been on the field much, restored order with a 65-yard drive, all on the ground. Guida started it, and Sanders finished it with a 14-yard scamper.
The Huskies had seemingly numerous opportunities to intercept Whiteside. Carl Hamrick finally did the honors at the end of the half.
Leading just 27-17 at intermission, the Huskies had what was likely a loud break full of instruction. Yet Delta kept coming, opening the second half with a 72-yard drive. Whiteside called his own number from the 1, and the Panthers were within three at 27-24.
Sanders woke everyone up with a 72-yard score. Battle Mountain’s defense finally made a a stop, surrendering a 20-yard field goal from Ramirez with 2:31 left in the third quarter. And, naturally, after the teams had combined for 61 points in the first three quarters, both offenses stalled for the first six minutes of the fourth quarter. The Huskies started a drive with 5:58 left in the game, which turned out to be the game-ender. Battle Mountain rushed the ball nine times, chewing 4:08 off the clock. Guida roared in from 15 yards out with 1:50 left.
Battle Mountain (7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Slope) hosts winless Steamboat next week.