It’s time to play football, Battle Mountain
It’s an easy excuse.
Battle Mountain football stinks. Why should I go out? And, thus, the cycle continues.
No numbers. The team has no depth. The team gets crushed. Non-interest in Huskies football continues.
No more. The cycle stops this year. I know I sound like a Cubs fan here, but this is the year Battle Mountain takes the step to turn things around.
And, before I get calls from Edwards and Gypsum, my crystal ball sees a big year for Vail Christian and John Ramunno’s boys will be in the mix, as always. But, as John Ritter says, Three’s Company.
And to do that, Battle Mountain’s student body needs to step to the plate, er, 50-yard line. New Huskies coach Pat Engle has 35 kids in the team’s optional sessions this week, but 35’s company and 50-plus would be a nice crowd.
“We’ve got a strong turnout of great group of kids, some good, young kids and some good, older kids,” Engle said. “We want to invite more people to come out.”
Huskies football begins at 12:01 a.m., Monday, under the lights at the soon-to-be-frozen tundra of Huskies Stadium. Hint, hint. Engle’s phone number is 845-1025. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.
“To the kids on the fence, I would love to entice them to come back out. We definitely have a different program. The coaches would tell you that and the kids who are already out there would tell you that.”
Let’s start with the coach. There’s a reason Fred Koetteritz stepped aside for Engle. Battle Mountain has a coach, who was a D-III All-American and has 10 years of head- or assistant-coaching back in Ohio, the heartland of the of the game.
Then, there’s the athletic talent at this school. Battle Mountain does have the athletes. Don’t talk to me about how Battle Mountain is the smallest school in 3A football and that it can’t compete. Steamboat Springs has 35 more students than Battle Mountain and the Sailors are in the playoffs year in, year out.
What’s more, Steamboat deals with the same athletic issues as Battle Mountain. Up north, they have a huge skiing program and a hockey team, but somehow manage to field highly-competitive teams in just about everything but wrestling and baseball.
And, the Sailors do it because their student-athletes play multiple sports. The opposite is true in Eagle-Vail. Most Huskies stick to one sport and one sport only. That is what is killing not only football, but just about every other sport – except hockey and skiing – in Huskies-dom.
In the era of multi-tasking, it’s time for Huskies to multi-sport and let’s start with football. Hockey players, you hit and you’re fast on the ice. You’ll also be fast and, Lord knows, you can hit on turf. Play football. Boys golf, your season ends relatively early in the fall. After the state tournament, knock wood, play football.
Basketball players, you’re big. You’re tall. You need to get in shape for basketball, anyway. Play football. And it should go with out saying that anyone who wrestles for the Huskies should be playing football and vice versa.
Baseball players, you can throw. You’re quick and you’ve got great hand-eye coordination. Those sound like good football skills to me. Track and fielders, sprinters make great wideouts and backs and the throwers are tailor-made linemen.
“I know that the hockey coach, Jade Kersey, wants his kids to play other sports,” Engle said. “If some of the kids who play golf have their last league meet Sept. 12, there’s still eight games left in the season.”
Note to Huskies golf – think state. So, that’s seven games, Coach, but we get the picture.
“There are avenues for kids to get out and play football if you want to,” Engle said. “It’s a small school and a small town. You might as well be a big man on campus.”
And the coach brings up another interesting point. Football is America’s No. 1 sport. We watch it on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays during the fall and talk about it during the other three days of the week. But the interesting thing is that so few people actually get the opportunity to play the real thing.
“Sometimes, kids need to take a chance to do something that takes some guts,” Engle said. “The tradition here is not good, but they’ve got a chance to be a part of the solution, not the problem. I challenge the kids on the fence to give it a shot. Come out for two-a-days for three days and I think the kids are going to realize that we’ve turned over a new leaf.”
No more excuses.
Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at email@example.com.