The snow flies and local fall sports are history
The fall ended abruptly over the weekend.
Eagle Valley and Vail Christian football and Battle Mountain volleyball all bowed out on Saturday. And, as if to confirm the end of fall, the snow promptly flew.
From Eagle Valley football beating Delta to Battle Mountain’s football renaissance, this was a great season.
A few snapshots of the fall that was.
I’m surprised to be writing this, but volleyball was my favorite sport to cover this fall. (Soccer is the usual answer.) But in 2014, we saw the Huskies and Devils go head-to-head for a title.
This is so rare. Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain play each other all the time, but only ever-so occasionally with more than bragging rights on the line.
What’s more was the two rivals brought out the best in each other.
The Huskies won the first meeting, somehow outlasting the Devils in five. Battle Mountain led the first three games by 4-5 points at various moments and trailed 2 games to 1 after three sets. How does that happen?
That, as it turned out, was the final match of the Week of Awfulness, three five-set losses in five days, for Eagle Valley.
The Devils came back and got their revenge in October, beating the Huskies in four and winning the league. This produced my favorite quote not used in a story during the season — a very polite “ha-ha” from the Devils’ Morgan Murphy.
Battle Mountain probably got the last laugh by going to state. More importantly, both squads pushed past adversity and their limits. A fine show by both teams.
Dylan’s biggest assist
Vail Mountain School soccer’s Dylan Cunningham finished the year with six goals and 10 assists. That leaves him one short of Trevor Shelden for the team lead.
Now we can say it. Young master Cunningham’s biggest assist came when he didn’t get credit for one. The Gore Rangers’ Kevin Garcia ended up scoring a golden goal in overtime to beat Coal Ridge, 2-1
At dispute was whether Cunningham took down his defender to free up Garcia. Did he? Didn’t he?
Yes, he did. All’s fair in love and war and soccer. It wasn’t malicious. They just got tangled up. It happens. Nice job, Dylan.
I couldn’t say it in the game story back on Sept. 27.
And, while we’re on the subject of VMS, it was awfully nice of the school to wear orange to support the Giants during the World Series.
Nice pants, coach Pete Petrovski.
Goal of the year?
Let it be duly noted that Eagle Valley soccer finally beat Battle Mountain soccer for the first time since 1999. Many ghosts were exorcised with that.
More impressively, it wasn’t a one-off.
Ten days later, the Devils came back and beat Steamboat Springs, 3-2 in overtime. There have been many false dawns with Devils soccer. This is not one.
Eagle Valley has talent that can compete with anyone in the league. The key is expecting and learning how to win, which the team showed with Nikolaus Opel’s golden goal against the Sailors.
The Devils are a sleeper team no more.
The peanut gallery
OK, Vail Christian beating Merino, 38-34, in the playoffs was just awesome. The Saints overcame a 14-0 deficit, performed some third- and fourth-down magic and notched the school’s biggest win in football since at least 2003.
Yeah, that was fun. Watching it in the press box was even funner. (Not a word, Freud.)
For a Saints game, you’ve got Jeremy Lowe on the mic, Doug Bruce and Patrick Beaudine spotting and me typing. We also think we can coach football. (In fairness, Bruce should have some headsets. It doesn’t matter what sport it is, he can coach.)
As the Merino game progressed, we all are pretty much shouting what the Saints should do. As is the case with Las Vegas, what’s said in the press box, stays in the box, but this could be quite the TV show.
Quite a kick
I don’t know if this falls under funniest or most memorable moment — maybe a little bit of both. Battle Mountain and Summit soccer are scoreless as the Tigers line up for a free kick.
Huskies soccer coach David Cope yells for his charges to cover the right post repeatedly, yet no one does. Summit scores the only goal of the game and Cope shows that he’s still got a little kick left in him from his Mount Lebanon (1981 Pennsylvania state champs) days as a midfielder.
He takes out the garbage can with one swipe of his right foot.
It’s funny, but it’s not in a lot of ways. The obvious? That is as hacked as I have seen the normally calm Cope in a long time. I’ve covered Cope for 18 years and can count on one hand the number of times he’s been angry:
• 2003 in Glenwood when he got red-carded.
• 2000’s direct/should-have-been-an-indirect-kick Cesar Castillo moment.
• 2012 at Evergreen, which actually turned out well.
And this poor trash can.
Cope doesn’t get angry. He leaves that to his “bad cop,” be it Jeff Hayslip, Kyle Mercer or Allie O’Neill.
In retrospect, I’m surprised this didn’t come earlier. This was a frustrating year in the land of Huskies soccer. The goalie got hurt. The team lost one of its center backs and one of its leading scorers essentially didn’t score much after two games.
Given all that, 9-6-1 wasn’t too bad of year. (And, yes, Cope felt bad about taking out the trash can. He put everything back together neatly after the game.)
Battle Mountain soccer will be back. Count on it.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.