Vail Valley football: Huskies beat Summit, 7-0 |

Vail Valley football: Huskies beat Summit, 7-0

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

FARMER’S KORNER – Where to start?

Well, Battle Mountain won a football game, knocking off Summit County, 7-0, at Climax Molybdenum Field at Tiger Stadium, which is news in itself. It’s Battle Mountain’s third win in as many seasons.

The Huskies hadn’t won their season opener since Zero Week in 2006 against Aspen, 35-2.

More stunningly, it was a shutout from a defense, which gave up 40 points per game last season and hadn’t recorded one since 2005 (Class 1A South Park, 47-0).

Then there’s the fact that junior starting quarterback Jake Engle, around which the entire offense was based, suffered an impact fracture to his femur during the team’s preseason scrimmage, and is likely out until the Rifle game on Sept. 24.

Yet somehow, some way, the Huskies found a way to win and possess a heady 1-0 record.

“We’ve been working together since November,” said defensive lineman Ryley Babcock. “We’ve become a big family. We climbed Mount Quandary together. Jake is a huge part of this team and we miss him. But we worked together and stayed together. So I’m glad we got the win.”

Mount Quandary

Go to YouTube and type in “Husky’s ‘Deserve Victory.'” In August, Battle Mountain football climbed Mount Quandary as team building exercise. The peak also has a view of Summit County, a motivational bonus.

“It’s the commitment. We climbed Quandary Peak. It’s (Summit’s) 14er. I can almost see it from here,” Huskies coach David Joyce said after the win. “It put the game in perspective. They understand the commitment it takes.”

The Huskies broke into Marvin Gaye’s “Aint’ No Mountain High Enough” after the climb and the good news is that they play better they sing.

Jordan Harrison, Mike Brown and Babcock were just a few of the defensive heroes Friday night. The front three created havoc, as a part of inspired effort by defensive coordinator Jeff Krumlauf’s unit.

“The defense, it was a hard-hitting game,” Joyce said. “It was intense. That’s an understatement. They were just swarming to the ball. Coach Krum got those guys ready to go. It was amazing to watch.”

Different playbook

Ironically, one can see Engle in the Mount Quandary tape. He was healthy at the time. As a sophomore, he absorbed a full season of hits. He went through two-a-days. He climbed a 14er, and then promptly got injured running for a score last Friday night in the team’s scrimmage.

Everyone thought that Engle blew out his knee, but the MRIs came out well, just the impact fracture of the femur. Nevertheless, one could sense the typical feeling of Battle Mountain’s season going down the drain.

Instead, Joyce and company scrambled changing what was likely a passing offense into a wildcat offense with Eric Weiss and Reeve Sanders splitting time at quarterback.

“I stole that straight from Arkansas’ playbook,” said Joyce, an Arkansan himself.

With 6:44 left in the third quarter, Reeve Sanders popped a 55-yard touchdown run which ended up being the only score of the game. Cody Hervert kicked the PAT.

“I was supposed to run up the middle on that play,” Sanders said. “The hole was one big mess. I cut outside and it was just Sawyer (Bluhm) and me. Sawyer threw a great block and I went to the house.”

While the Huskies couldn’t convert on other opportunities, Sanders and Chris Libertini had big nights running the ball. Joyce also gave out postgame kudos to Weiss for his pose under center on short notice.

“He managed the game well,” Joyce said. “He’s 1-0 as a starting quarterback. He’s undefeated.”

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

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