Playoff time for Huskies: Looking back and forward |

Playoff time for Huskies: Looking back and forward

“So are you going to the game?”

I get asked this question by parents, kids, etc., all the time. Even this week with Battle Mountain football in the playoffs – OK, let’s all go Jim Mora – I’ve been asked the question.

“No, I was planning on going to a poetry reading.”

(I actually said that to some of the players one week. Mercifully, the kids have a sense of humor.)

So since we’re all heading down to Trailblazer Stadium at Lakewood for today’s playoff game against D’Evelyn at 2:30 p.m. – and if you aren’t, check out the radio/TV on – let’s look back at the season, what our boys have learned and how it might apply to today.

Week 1 – Huskies 46, Summit County 6

Please remember, there were high hopes, but there was still uncertainty if we were going to see a real football team or the same-old Battle Mountain. A football team showed up.

While there were lots of games to go, this showed that the Huskies could play. Guys, it is the playoffs. It’s a new deal, but you belong here today.

We also find out that Reeve Sanders is pretty fast. Watch special teams today. I’m not guaranteeing he’ll return one, but the Huskies have the ability to change field position. (Reeve, please catch the ball before running, though. That was a little problem last week.)

Week 2 – Huskies 42, Roaring Fork 0

The big question surrounding the season was defense. We knew Battle Mountain could score points. Could we avoid every game being a 42-35 affair?

Battle Mountain’s defense has been stout in the regular season. Delta was the only clunker for that unit, but you get one pass in the regular season. The only other times the Huskies have allowed 20-plus points when the game was still competitive were against Rifle and Palisade, two teams who happen to be in the playoffs as well.

Today will be the biggest defensive test of the season. You guys have been well-prepared for D’Evelyn’s passing game. Can we avoid a shootout today? Keep the Jaguars under 30 points, and you’re in good shape.

Week 3 – Huskies 53, Classical Academy 28

It started as a gimmick, but gee, that running game works. Six possessions, six touchdowns to start the game.

This is the start you want, boys. This was also as close to a passing attack as Battle Mountain saw in the regular season. The Titans scored on the first play, and the Huskies actually had it well-covered. The receiver made the catch. But Battle Mountain did shut down the pass here. This was 53-13 before Huskies coach David Joyce called off the dogs.

D’Evelyn will complete passes. As was the case against TCA, do the Huskies make the Jags receivers pay, and perhaps make them a little more hesitant to run routes?

Week 4 – Rifle 22, Huskies 21

Yep, this one hurt. Lost in the talk of whether the 45-yard field goal with 6 seconds left was good or not – it was – or how the heck a kid could kick a field goal like that was what Battle Mountain did in the fourth quarter.

Twice, the Huskies mounted go-ahead scoring drives in the final period. That bodes well. It wouldn’t be surprising to see D’Evelyn lead at some point today. This is a good team. But the Huskies know they can come back. As much as the Rifle loss hurt, this is big for Huskies football.

Week 5 – Huskies 34, Glenwood Springs 21

While other wins were big – see next week – this might have been the biggest of the season. Previous Battle Mountain teams would have gone into a tailspin.

This squad went into a very hostile environment – happy Homecoming, Demons – and put a smackdown on Glenwood Springs. With a 27-0 lead, the Huskies showed they were in it for the long haul.

(By the way, guys, none of us would mind if you did this today. Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.)

Week 6 – Huskies 49, Palisade 28

Could Battle Mountain play with the big boys, especially in the wake of the Rifle game? Asked and answered. I’m sure everyone’s seen that the Huskies beat Palisade and said Bulldogs beat D’Evelyn in Week 2. That’s nice if you’re into transitivity.

That’s not the point. The point is, if you can hit Palisade with a 2-by-4, you can play with anyone. With the history of assorted routs and beatings in this series, no one and no thing can be more daunting than Palisade.

Week 7 – Huskies 28, Moffat County 13

Moffat football is not subtle. One kind of knows what’s coming. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to prepare a team for this. That said, has there been a situation this year for which Battle Mountain has not been prepared?

Umm, no. Joyce is a bit crazy to some – the two of us had a politics debate this week that makes me wonder – but he and Krum and company always have had the Huskies prepared. That’s another club in your bag, guys, that you have going into today.

Week 8 – Huskies 41, Delta 27

Not a work of art, but this was a nice reminder of whence the Huskies come. There are 16 good football teams in the bracket, but only three play in the best 3A conference in the state. Middle-of-the-road teams in the Slope are still solid. Since much of this league has been the bane of Battle Mountain throughout the lean years, wear it as a badge of honor today.

D’Evelyn’s good, but it didn’t play the schedule you did to get here.

By the way, Palisade will plow Evergreen and we’ve got Rifle taking care of Roosevelt.

Week 9 – Huskies 61, Steamboat Springs 22

OK, Steamboat’s terrible. I don’t wish 0-10 on anyone because I’ve seen it four times at Battle Mountain.

The significance was that the Huskies took care of business on Senior Night. Take a moment to think about it – there are 17 seniors on this squad and a bunch of them were here in Joyce’s first year as freshman when the team was 0-10. Gents, you’ve been through football purgatory, and you’re the better for it.

Week 10 – Huskies 54, Eagle Valley 0

Unfortunate for the rivalry, but a good pre-playoff run-through for Battle Mountain. It was also a highly emotional game and emotions will be high today. You can handle it.

When I was waiting for an interview after Week 1, quarterback Jake Engle was getting treated for something minor. Asked if he was OK, Engle said, “It’s a long way from the heart.”

Excellent Herb Brooks usage, Jake. So let’s finish with another Herb-ism: “You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

If you’re going

Who: Battle Mountain (9-1) vs. D’Evelyn (8-2)

Where: Trailblazer Stadium

Directions: Interstate 70 to exit 261 “US-6 E / W 6th Ave.,” go 3.6 miles. Merge onto CO 391 S/S. Kipling Street and go 0.9 miles. Make a U-turn at West Cedar Ave. onto S. Kipling Street. Stadium is on your right.

When: Today, 2:30 p.m.

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