Vail Valley preps: The games of the year
Some highlights from 2018-19
It never ceases to amaze me that I can still see something new during a high school sports year.
This wraps 22 years of covering preps in Eagle County. Multiply that by three installments of sports every year and you have 66 seasons of sport.
Two years ago, I thought I saw the capper of cappers when Battle Mountain goalie Jordan Glendining scored from the run of play in overtime. Seriously. who do you top that?
As it turns out, you top that with Eagle Valley basketball beating Battle Mountain, 110-102, in a regulation 32-minute game in 2018.
And after that, there was no way anything Eagle Valley-Battle Mountain basketball could do in 2019, right? Except they went into triple overtime with the Devils prevailing.
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Get the ball to Sarah
Vail Mountain School volleyball made the state tournament for the first time since 2005, but it was how it got there that made it memorable.
The Gore Rangers not only went five games against the Dawson School in the de facto regional championship game but were down 13-10 in the final stanza, two points from being eliminated.
A team usually likes to mix up the attack. Player A attacks on one play, followed by player B, so the opposing squad doesn’t move its entire block to guard a sole threat. Yet there are times when a team goes to its best player and that was the case against the Mustangs.
This was Keyshon Johnson and “Give me the damn ball” on a volleyball court. VMS’ Sarah Evans is too polite to go Keyshon Johnson on her teammates. It was just a natural consequence — with the season on the line, you want your best outside hitter pounding the hooey out of the ball.
The thing was that everybody in the gym in the East Vail — the Dawson School included — knew that the ball was going to No. 10. The Dawson School called two timeouts during the sequence. The visitors called two timeouts, ostensibly to break the rhythm of VMS and to emphasize the point that the ball was going to No. 10.
Didn’t matter. Points, set and match to VMS.
The ultimate nemesis of Battle Mountain boys soccer will always be Evergreen for me, but for the more recent generation of Huskies’ XIs, it’s The Classical Academy.
First of all, there’s the “The.” Really? You think you’re The Ohio State University? The Huskies were probably more concerned with an 0-5 record against TCA during the previous four years, the most noteworthy loss being a 7-1 rout in the 2016 state-title game in 2016.
Dani Barajas scored twice, the Huskies won, 2-0, and Battle Mountain celebrated like it 2012 with apologies to Prince.
Huskies 45, Rifle 29
If you see the above score, the average Battle Mountain fan would think that was a good evening, more likely the Huskies boys basketball team beating the Bears.
But that was the Battle Mountain girls basketball team winning its first Western Slope title since 1993. I think I will live to see Battle Mountain football win a Slope title. (They came close in 2011.)
I did not think I would live long enough for Battle Mountain girls basketball to top the league. Glad to be wrong. Wilder Isom served as the human-victory cigar coming off the bench to sink a free throw, which sent everyone into the gym into a frenzy. (Miss Isom proved to be a pretty good goalie in the spring.)
On the boys’ side of the basketball rivalry, we really should just play the games in Edwards. Yes, Eagle Valley would probably like to host, but the last three years the Devils and Huskies have met upvalley, they’ve been epic games.
The Huskies upset the Devils in OT in 2017. The Devils dropped 110 points in 2018 on the Huskies. And in 2019, the two teams were tied at 55 after regulation and it took three extra periods to make Eagle valley an 82-78 winner.
As thrilling as this was, there was also a journalistic concern involved. Hey, fellas, I’ve got a deadline here. Could someone please win this game? As such, attaboy to the Devils’ Carlos Quezada, whose 3 in the third OT broke this open.
If it’s possible, the Lauren Mutter Memorial Game was one of the best and worst moments of the year. Yes, it’s been more than two months since Vail Christian alumna and coach Lauren Mutter passed away.
I still have a hard time referring to her in the past tense. I haven’t fully processed it, but this was a step. It was essentially a friendly between Vail Christian and Battle Mountain that morphed into a soccer mosh pit.
During the second half, Vail Christian, Battle Mountain, and Vail Mountain all mixed up teams and then the numbers started increasing. there were roughly 40 players on the field simultaneously. With 20 per side, are teams playing the traditional 7-8-4?
Reef Kenney, 12, scored on goalie Audrey Teague on a correctly called penalty kick — too many players on the pitch? — to wrap the game.