It’s Eagle Valley at Battle Mountain tonight
So anything happening tonight?
Eagle Valley soccer is at Battle Mountain at 6.
This is why the answer is soccer when people ask me what is my favorite sport to cover?
And the reason is that this sort of thing always happens in the Western Slope — 3A or 4A. Please remember that the first time the Huskies made the state playoff under David Cope in 1998, Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley and Vail Mountain all played in the same 3A league. The Huskies finished 2-2-2 in the league with a loss to VMS, and qualified in the third and final spot of the league.
The next year, 1999, was the Huskies and Gore Rangers playing on the final day of the season with Alberto Saenz scoring an empty-netter in overtime, sending Battle Mountain onward.
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Soccer just always seems to have the photo finish. In the 3A Slope, it’ll all come down to Tuesday — Basalt at VMS, 4 p.m. — provided that the Gore Rangers win today at CRMS. (Theoretically, VMS could lose today and then beat Basalt and win the league title, but I don’t think the team’s coach Pete Petrovski is down with that. He would not be Mr. Happy Fun Guy on his fourth trip home on Highway 82. No Paonia jokes, VMS.)
The 3A race is rather simple in comparison to the Battle Mountain-Eagle-Valley-Steamboat Springs race.
• Battle Mountain is 8-1, 24 points, with Eagle Valley, Glenwood Springs and Steamboat left.
• Eagle Valley is 8-2, 24 points, with Battle Mountain and Summit County to go.
• Steamboat is 8-2, 24 points, with Delta and Battle Mountain on the slate.
In my time here, back to fall of 1997, we’ve never had these two teams going head-to-head with both teams in the title hunt.
In 2008, the Devils won league and went 12-2-1 overall. Both losses were to Battle Mountain. In 2008, the Devils returned the favor. Battle Mountain finished 8-0-4, no losses, but its two ties against Eagle Valley, including one on the final night of the season, gave Steamboat the title.
Speaking of ties, here we go.
No. 1 is head to head. If Eagle Valley wins tonight, then the Devils all but lock up the league title. Eagle Valley would be 2-0 against the Huskies and only need to beat Summit next Thursday to win its first title since 2008.
Other head-to-head records:
Battle Mountain leads Steamboat, 1-0, with a meeting in a week in Edwards.
Eagle Valley and Steamboat split, 1-1.
That brings us to the second tiebreaker. If two teams are tied in head-to-head atop the Slope, one goes to record against the next highest-placed team in the league and then go down the standings.
After that, it gets far too confusing for a liberal arts major.
What the Huskies need to do
No secret, people. Use every inch of the 80-yard wide pitch. That’s 2,880 inches. (The liberal arts major used a calculator.) Play wide, possess, eventually work it down the flanks, and cut it back along the goal line.
Again, Eagle Valley coach Bratzo Horruitiner knows this. I’m not Edward Snowden here.
The Huskies know they’re a different team than in September down in Gypsum, when they lost to Eagle Valley. They’ve won eight of nine, the only loss being to current No. 1 The Classical Academy. One of the reasons TCA is the current No. 1 is that Battle Mountain handed previous No. 1 Evergreen its first loss last week.
What the Devils need to do
Exactly what they’ve been doing since the season opener against Glenwood Springs. Sure that game was a bummer, a 2-1 overtime loss. Eagle Valley’s won 11 of 12 since then. Both of the Devils’ losses are in extra time.
I’m not saying that to rub salt into the wound. It merely means that Eagle Valley clearly belongs on this stage. And, by the way, there’s no need for awe of Battle Mountain since you’ve beaten the Huskies the past two times.
Feed your bigs — Aldo Palacios, Aaron Ledezma, Noel Ruiz and Paco Serna.
Again, I’m not giving away the shop. Cope knows.
Someone named Aaron Ledezma will be happy. Both teams have an Aaron Ledezma. Freud isn’t joking. They’re cousins. Aaron Ledezma wears No. 5 for the Devils and No. 17 for the Huskies. No. 5 is a senior. No. 17 is a junior.
In American football …
Eagle Valley is 5-1. Wow, that happened quickly. Yes, there are only four weeks left in the regular season. Must. Beat. Steamboat. Springs. On. Friday.
Seven wins is the magic number. Wild-card points aren’t out yet, but seven is the magic number for playoffs.
This week’s objective is to close out a game, boys. Glenwood Springs got a little too close last week. Get a lead and keep your foot on the pedal.
At Battle Mountain, Devin Huffman becomes the answer to a trivia question. Last year as a freshman, he wore No. 12 for Huskies football. He will be the last. Battle Mountain retires No. 12 in honor of Scott Ward, Class of 1986, on Friday against Aspen. Ward, the quarterback of the Huskies best team ever, the 1985 squad, passed away this summer in an auto accident. Friends and classmates will be on hand before the game for tailgating and at the half.
Yep, it’s already that time of year. Vail Christian volleyball hosts Soroco tonight. We salute the Saints seniors and, yes, their more mature senior, coach Cathy Alexander, who will be coaching in her final home game. She doesn’t want a production. She wants the spotlight to be on the seniors on Senior Night.
Nonetheless, three cheers to Coach Alexander.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.