Sports extra: The aftermath of VMS-Battle Mountain lax

Did that really happen?

Yes, it did — Vail Mountain School lax 11, Battle Mountain 8.

First off, that’s what I love about covering prep sports. I know more about high school sports than anyone should, and I did not see that coming. Never in a million years.

Good for VMS. The Gore Rangers played their hearts out and won. I thought the lightning break might give the Huskies a chance to regroup. It seemed like it almost did until Tyler Hancock turned two faceoffs into goals in 18 seconds, including one to Riley Kilgore.

I also want to give a shoutout to VMS goalie John Linn. His senior year, sports-wise, hasn’t gone as he had wanted. He was the starting keeper on the soccer team in the fall and lost his job. But Linn has kept with it and worked in the best interest of whatever team he’s been on — soccer, basketball and lacrosse.

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He’s still the backup goalie for lacrosse, but boy did he put on a show on Tuesday. Well done, kid.

The task for VMS is to keep this going. You beat Telluride, 6-5? (Yes, I know VMS dances the dance with the ski season.) You lost to Durango, 10-7? (Yes, the trip is awful, but come on, guys.)

The Battle Mountain game showed that there is talent in East Vail. You need to bring your Battle Mountain effort every darn game. The season is not over. Your goal is the playoffs.

As for the Huskies, that was an unacceptable performance. No disrespect to VMS, but that just shouldn’t have happened. Give Huskies coach Jerry Nichols props for his postgame, saying essentially, “VMS was the better team (Tuesday).”

Point No. 1 comes from a column I wrote on March 23. I was in the press box watching some game and talking to some players. I wrote the following:

“They were talking about their next game and how it was going to be a cakewalk. I silently agreed with their assessment at the time and said prediction turned out to be true.

“And that said, I don’t ever want to hear any student-athlete from any school talk that way again. To all athletes, regardless of the sport, treat your opponent with respect. As far as the principle goes, sports are an extension of the classroom and, if you’re not treating opponents with respect, what does that say about you?

“And from a practical standpoint, the moment you stop respecting your opponents is the moment they will come back and bite you in the posterior. Maybe not immediately, but it will happen.”

Yep, they were members of the Battle Mountain boys lacrosse team, and the crows came home to roost on Tuesday.

Guys, if you fancy yourself as one of the best teams in the state, and Battle Mountain boys lax has that as a goal, you must respect everyone you play. You didn’t on Tuesday. You play Fruita Monument on Friday. Fruita is Aspen or Dawson or Windsor. Summit is on Tuesday. The Tigers are Aspen or Dawson or Windsor.

There are no assumptions in sports. No one is going to give you anything in lacrosse or in life.

As for the Battle Mountain’s conduct on Tuesday, that needs to change as well. All four schools are “my teams” — not on the order of the Giants or Niners — but still “my teams.” I was embarrassed with how you guys played and conducted yourselves.

I cannot say with authority whether the officiating was good or bad. (From my experience, no one likes officiating.) However, you let it consume you to the point where you stopped playing lacrosse and were playing the refs instead. That doesn’t work.

To Nichols’ credit, he also acknowledged this in his postgame.

Play the darn game and stick together as a team. I don’t ever want to see again the whine-and-cheese fest and the in-fighting I saw on Tuesday. It’s unacceptable. You’re better than that.

Guys, this game isn’t the end of the season. In fact, it can be the beginning. Make Fruita a fresh start. Call it the second half because it is — seven down and eight to go in the regular season.

Go get ‘em, guys.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.

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