Vail Valley football: Huskies fall to Moffat in OT
EDWARDS – Battle Mountain football’s new kid is pretty good.
The Huskies absorbed a wrenching 40-34 overtime loss to Moffat County Friday night in Edwards, but it’s going to be a long time before anyone forgets Battle Mountain quarterback Jake Engle’s first start of 2010.
All the junior did was complete 20-of-33 passes for 341 yards with four touchdowns against one interception. Of course, Engle isn’t new to Huskies football – he shared quarterback duties with Parke Robbins last year – but this, in theory, was what Battle Mountain coach David Joyce imagined all summer until Engle went down with an impact facture to his femur in a preseason scrimmage against Basalt.
“We finally got to do what we wanted to do all offseason,” Joyce said. “We worked on throwing and catching. We came out a little rusty. Once he got hit after that first drive, he came off the field, and said, ‘I’ve got it.'”
Engle got it, and that opened everything up nicely for the offense, allowing Chris Libertini and Reeve Sanders to run when Moffat sat on the pass.
The problem was that the Bulldogs were just too big up front for the Huskies’ defense, which did have its moments. High school overtime gives each team the ball on the 10-yard line, and after the Huskies turned the ball over on downs, the Bulldogs pounded it in, capped by a 2-yarder from Angelo Raftopoulus.
“They were built for overtime,” Joyce said.
Down 7-0, Engle shook off the rust and the Huskies marched 68 yards down the field. Sanders capped this drive with a 22-yard run. He ended up with four scores, including three touchdown catches.
The Huskies’ Eric Weiss picked off Moffat’s Bubba Ivers, but Engle returned the favor with about his only mistake on the evening. Two plays later, a Moffat defensive lineman got a tip on Engle’s pass and Moffat’s Tom McCoy returned it for a pick-six and a 13-7 lead.
Then Battle Mountain kicked it into gear. Engle hit Sanders for 25 yards and later a 48-yard touchdown with 48 seconds to go in the half. Holding on to 14-13 lead, the Huskies defense surrendered a a 67-yard scramble by Ivers, but Weiss came up with a fumble on the next play.
Instead of sitting on the ball, the Huskies went to the air again. Engle to Sanders for 19 and then 66 yards put Battle Mountain up 21-13 at the half.
It’s important to note that Friday was not a repeat of the Rifle game two weeks ago when the Huskies led the Bears, 19-6 at the half only to fall, 27-19. Battle Mountain kept coming, stopping Moffat on its first possession of the second half and getting good field position on the Bulldogs’ 30 after a botched snap.
The offense converted on 4-and-14 for the Moffat 23 with Engle on a tipped pass to Sanders for 17 yards. Engle to Libertini gave the Huskies a 27-13 lead. Moffat’s power-I offense cranked out a 4-yard score by Gage Spears with 2:20 left in the third to make it 27-20.
Moffat launched a 10-play drive, capped by Ivers scrambling 16 yards on 4-and-1 to tie it at 27. Battle Mountain thought it had taken the lead on a 75-yard TD pass to Sanders only to see it called back by a holding penalty.
Instead, Moffat took a 34-27 advantage on a 57-yard run by Ivers with 3:17 left in regulation. The Huskies lost another huge gain by Sanders on 4-and-1 from their own 32, on another flag, and by that point, Joyce was apoplectic with the officiating.
The Bulldogs took over the ball on the Huskies’ 22 and tried to run the clock out, but Ivers, Moffat’s quarterback, was whistled for unnecessary roughness by knocking down Libertini after the play was dead. That unusual call, along with the use of Battle Mountain’s timeouts, gave the Huskies the ball on their 20 with 1:18 left.
This produced Engle’s finest 70 seconds. No timeouts? No problem. He hit Cody Hervert for 14 yards and Sanders for another 10 and promptly spiked the ball. Engle went to Sanders for 20 more and a 13-yarder to Hervert put the Huskies on the Moffat 23. With 8.8 seconds left in regulation, Engle found Sanders on a corner route for a touchdown. Hervert booted the extra point for the tie.
“I was contemplating going for two,” Joyce said. “If I had a timeout, I would have. I would have thought up something in motion to move their linebackers. It’s just a shame we couldn’t hold on for the win.”
Battle Mountain (1-6) is at Delta Friday.
Palisade 47, Eagle Valley 13
GYPSUM – Eagle Valley’s Matt Kottenstette had touchdown runs of 6 and 25 yards in the Devils’ 47-13 loss to third-ranked Palisade Friday night at Hot Stuff Stadium in Gypsum.
“They are just so solid,” Devils coach John Ramunno said. “You just can’t make a mistake against them. They just so opportunistic. … We just have to get ready for Glenwood. They’re pretty darn solid, too.”
The Devils face the Demons in Glenwood Springs Friday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.