Thoughts on the football ‘rivalry’ |

Thoughts on the football ‘rivalry’

I’m rooting for Battle Mountain football Friday night against Eagle Valley at storied Phelan Field.

There, I said it. By the way, Gypsum, don’t send the e-mails and I.E.D.’s. Ian Smith will be covering the game for the paper, so relax.

I have nothing against John Ramunno and the Devils. In fact, if you’ll recall, three weeks ago in this space when the Devils were 0-5, I said they’d finish the season at 5-5. I’m looking pretty good on that count right now, no?

Nor am I under any illusions that this edition of Eagle Valley-Battle Mountain football will end any differently than it has in the last 10 years or so. Eagle Valley should win big.

But, “Go Huskies.”

Reason No. 1: You really wouldn’t wish what is happening to Battle Mountain football these days on your worst enemy. I know that’s maybe not the best phrasing for rivalry week, but this has been brutal. Seriously, 62-6 at the half against Steamboat Springs? That’s just not right.

Reason No. 2: A win over Eagle Valley would turn the season into a great one immediately, and likely go a long ways toward turning around the program, which would be nice for variety’s sake. I know it’s not going to happen Friday, but we can all dream.

Reason No. 3: Look at how soccer and volleyball played out this fall. The Devils and Huskies went head-to-head all season for the league championship and it was just fantastic for players, coaches, fans and sports writers alike.

All season, although they denied it, players and coaches were focused on their games, while keeping and eye on the other team.

Let’s take Battle Mountain soccer’s Homecoming game. As the Huskies were pounding Moffat County, 8-0, the starters were on the bench and conversation turned to the subject of Eagle Valley’s game against Rifle earlier that day.

I said, “Eagle won and Cesar (Castillo) had four goals.”

Huskies striker Davey DeChant immediately says, “So that’s goals 32-35 for him.”

Good to see you read the paper, Davey.

And then there were the games between the teams. They were fantastic. Eagle Valley volleyball snapped its skid against Battle Mountain and the Devils stood on the court after the match in a happy gaze, just not wanting to leave. And Battle Mountain was kind enough to return the favor in October in Gypsum.

The soccer games were both classics. The Huskies’ Jair Molina led the comeback in a 2-1 overtime win in September. Thursday, Battle Mountain managed to upset the eventual league champs.

All four of these games also had big, loud crowds with fans from both sides which were hanging on every moment. This is what a rivalry is all about ” tight games with meaningful results.

Friday’s football game between the two teams is a rivalry in geography only right now. As with the Red Sox and the Yankees until 2004, a rivalry is only a real one until both teams can show they have the ability to beat the other one at the highest level of competition.

Be honest, Devils fans, wouldn’t it be cool if both of these teams were coming into this ninth week of the season with a title or a playoff spot on the line?

Until that happens, go Battle Mountain.

Also in the hopper:

– We had a lot of smack ” and understandably so ” after Huskies soccer swept the Devils Thursday. Let’s make this clear. Eagle Valley is the lord and master of the Slope. Yes, Battle Mountain, you got the sweep, but you lost to Glenwood twice and Steamboat once. The Devils are the champs ” period, exclamation point, end of story.

– And none of this, “I hope one team goes further in the playoffs.” This has been a great year for Slope soccer, and we want all five teams from this region ” including Montrose ” to go deep.

– Speaking of champions, brava to Devils volleyball. This was one amazing story, first beating Battle Mountain and then overcoming the injury of Whitney VanVoorst. The latter would have done in most teams, but not this crew. We’re sort of used to flashy teams with thundering kills ” read Battle Mountain from 2005-07. There’s nothing flashy here. All the Devils do is win, and that’s just fine.

– Catch these ladies in action Saturday when they host the District 7 Tournament in Gypsum. You don’t want to miss this.

– OK, VMS soccer is not going to wear orange this year and it stinks.

Roaring Fork coach John Ackerman pulled his team off the field in September game at Aspen, a CHSAA no-no as we all learned five years ago with one of our favorite local coaches. The Rams were ineligible for the postseason until the school took “corrective action,” which Roaring Fork did Friday by suspending Ackerman.

More painful is that Roaring Fork passed our Gore Rangers when CRMS had to forfeit its games because the Oysters played a fifth-year senior. Roaring Fork gained a net of five points out of this because the Rams had lost and tied CRMS.

This brings to the fore one of the many lessons that sports teaches us. Sometimes, life just isn’t fair.

– As we close, good luck to everyone in the postseason.

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

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