Huskies win for first time in two years
EAGLE-VAIL – The Battle Mountain football team christened Phelan Field in fine style Friday night.The Huskies won their first game since Sept. 7, 2002 – a 13-6 win vs. Plateau Valley – with a 27-0 pasting of South Park. It was Battle Mountain’s first shutout since Sept. 5, 1997 – a 42-0 win over Soroco. And, it was the Huskies’ first Week 1 win also since 1997 – against Eagle Valley, 14-13.”You talk about a game at a time, but if you get off on the wrong foot, there can be a lack of confidence,” said head coach Pat Engle, who won his first game with the Huskies. “We knew how important this game was. Our kids knew how important this game was. We just wanted to come out and play hard.”That they did. The defense, which came up with big plays time after time, stopped the Burros’ first two drives. Thomas Pacheco sparked the Huskies’ first score with a 54-yard punt return, putting the Huskies on the South Park 35.Battle Mountain needed only three plays to strike paydirt. Quarterback Derek Rush called his own number and rolled 24 yards for the first score of the season. Patrick Scanlan, an import from the Vail Mountain soccer team, split the uprights for a 7-0 Huskies’ lead with 2:40 left in the first quarter. Scanlan was 3-for-4 on extra points in his debut.In the second quarter, Engle inserted T.J. Montoya behind center and the Huskies mounted an 88-yard drive. Big plays came from Adrian Martinez in the form of a 38-yard run and a Montoya pass to Pacheco for 20 yards.That set up Martinez for a 1-yard TD plunge. Martinez led the Huskies with 130 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns. Mike Garst also had a good day on the ground with 77 yards on 13 rushes.
“(Our offense) is one of those thing that lulls you to sleep,” Engle said. “You start trying to play things. We really didn’t get much quarterback keep at all. We had one where Derek ran. Most of the were give tonight. I guess they were playing us honest. I was expecting the quarterback to pull the ball a little more than he did.”The Huskies offense continued to sing lullabies to the Burros on their next drive. Martinez capped the 58-yard march with a 35-yard touchdown dash and the Huskies were leading, 20-0, going into halftime.Not to be lost in Battle Mountain’s offensive exploits was the defense. After having some problems tackling early, the Huskies started to pounce. In the second quarter, Peter Van Dyke forced two incompletions on consecutive plays with his pass rush. Early in the first quarter, Rudy Frausto clocked Burros quarterback Sky Roberts. At the end of the half, Chris Carnes had a pick.On South Park’s first drive of the second half, Van Dyke and Garst teamed up to drop Roberts. On the next play, Ken Roberts threw his namesake for a 12-yard loss.Garst’s interception in the fourth quarter stopped another South Park drive and the Huskies preserved the goose egg with a great team effort of the Burros’ final gasp.”Our defense was phenomenal,” Engle said. “Obviously there are things we need to work on. We’ve gave them a lot of extra yards. But those are things that are all coachable. I don’t want to harp on the past. But teams in the in past, we had no one making plays. We had kids all over the field tonight. They were swarming.”Battle Mountain sealed the deal early in the fourth quarter. Montoya found Frausto for a 30-yard strike. Martinez had three runs totaling 17 yards and Garst scored from one yard out.
While it was a huge win for the Huskies, Battle Mountain will need to raise its game for Moffat County at Phelan Field next Friday.”I told the kids, ‘You can play like this against South Park, but next week is Moffat, a returning state-playoff team. We’ve got to have our A-game,'” Engle said. “At the same time, your biggest improvement always comes between games one and two. We know what we need to work on.”Phelan honoredAt halftime, Battle Mountain teacher Nick Loetscher made it official.”Welcome to our stadium, which is now called Phelan Field,” Loetscher said.And with that, Huskies Stadium turned into Phelan Field in honor Pat Phelan who has coached and taught at Battle Mountain since 1973.
Phelan was visibly moved by the tribute. He received numerous loud standing ovations from the crowd which included current and former Battle Mountain students, athletes and parents.”When you walk through that gate, you might think of me,” Phelan said. “But when I go through that gate, I think of you. I’m so proud to have taught and coached at Battle Mountain.”On hand for the tribute were CHSAA commissioner Bill Reeder, fellow teacher and coach Tom Kirk and Huskies football great Jeff Campbell.Reading a letter from former Huskies coach Steve Moran, Kirk, who joined Battle Mountain in 1982, said, “He was always dedicated to the program. He was one of the main reasons that Battle Mountain made the state championship three years later.”Campbell, a star running back on that 1985 team, chimed in by saying, “I hope my son. Blake. who’s 6 years old has a teacher like Pat Phelan … I’m going to love this guy forever. Phelan Field is going to go down in history.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614, or email@example.com.Vail Colorado