Teammates lift Huskies’ Martinez to 276 yards
Battle Mountain football, before Friday’s game against Sanford, was considering going to the air.
Sophomore quarterback Derek Rush has got a gun for an arm, has shown flashes of brilliance, and head coach Pat Engle was considering giving the kid the green light against the Indians.
“We worked a ton on throwing the football,” Engle said. “At the same time, we spent about a third of our offensive practice, running the ball. Thank god, we did.”
That’s because Battle Mountain’s plans changed quickly Friday night. The ground game finally clicked.
Huskies running back Junior Martinez, behind a stellar effort from his teammates, carried the ball 26 times for a staggering 276 yards in Battle Mountain’s 30-14 loss to the Indians.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Though it was not a school record – Battle Mountain doesn’t keep stats dating back to the 80s, when Jeff Campbell, who according to longtime coach Pat Phelan likely holds the record, ran wild for the Huskies – it is an impressive performance, unparalleled in recent years.
More so, it is a glowing, positive light in a season, where, at least, in terms of wins and losses, it’s been a tough one at Battle Mountain.
“Getting 275 yards (sic) against a team – I realize it’s a 1A school, but it’s a 1A team going to the playoffs,” Engle said. “They had as many guys out there as we did. We ripped them. The credit goes to everybody on the team.
“We obviously established something that was pretty impressive. It’s just nice to have a certain positive like that coming out of a season like we’ve got.”
Martinez averaged 10.6 yards per carry and scored a touchdown on his big day. All credit to him for his brilliant running. And, all credit to his teammates, who led the way with their domination of the trenches.
You can start with fullback Travis Scholl. Battle Mountain’s success came on the lead play, which means Scholl was blowing up holes right and left.
Then, there are the big guys up front, who were equally adept at moving bodies around at will. That would be center Chad Shoulders, linemen Cody Stackpole, Ben Smith, John Wahrer, David Lewis and tight end Peter Van Dyke.
“After you’ve had four coaches in four years as some of our seniors have had – Chad and Cody, in particular – I’m sure that sometimes you have different blocking schemes, going through your head at different times,” Engle said. “It’s nice to see that they’ve taken the ball and run with it.”
One more positive out of Friday’s game was that the Huskies are a young team. Martinez, Stackpole and Shoulders graduate, but there is a strong foundation upon which Battle Mountain can build in the next few years.
“We’re a very young team,” Engle said. “I made the comment, as I was looking out there, that, at certain points, nine out of the 11 players out there are coming back next year – on both sides of the ball.
“We have four of those kids back (on the offensive line) next year. Hopefully, the second year of the system will make it work for them.”
Battle Mountain heads to Glenwood Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
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.