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Vail Valley sports: The meaning of IT and other ramblings

You know The ESPN/ABC slogan “College football lives here?” Well, District 7 lives here, kids. (OK, not as catchy, but true.)

We start the week with a bravo to Eagle Valley volleyball, the first local team to grab a league flag.

That would be back-to-back for the Devils, and they made it look easy. But make no mistake, it wasn’t. It’s a ton of hard work. Eagle Valley lost a lot of players for last year’s team which took the Slope. The Devils had to work to incorporate new players and new roles, and they struggled in the preseason.

As league play came along, it came together. The repeat only looked easy because the Devils have IT. IT is the unquantifiable quality that good volleyball teams have, and you know IT when you see it. We’ve seen IT in the 2006 Battle Mountain team, the VMS squads from the early part of the decade and the Devils the last two years. (And, yes, the Saints have IT.)

IT’s an intangible quality, perhaps described as a team moving as one unit, and we’re not just talking the six kids on the court. IT involves everyone. IT is product of coaching and the perfect mix of serious talent and chemistry.

The good news is that Eagle Valley because of its second-consecutive league crown will be home for districts Oct. 31. (The Slope winner gets to host District 7, and this is fifth straight year the tourney’s been in Eagle County, as the Huskies won the league from 2005-07 . It’s what I do in late October every year.)

This team doubtless has loftier goals. But for now congratulations on a well-deserved repeat.

So any other titles on the line this week?

• We will not look ahead to Thursday’s soccer game. No, No. no. First off, major kudos to Eagle Valley soccer. The season appeared to be slipping away after tight losses to Glenwood and Steamboat Springs earlier this month. (It did for Battle Mountain last year with these two foes.) But hark, the boys are back.

Not only was it good to pin one on Glenwood, but burying them was key. They say that the scariest lead in soccer is 2-0. Nope. The scariest lead in soccer is 1-0. Just ask the Huskies after taking two one-goal leads into the final five minutes of their games with Steamboat. The Devils put the Demons away and did so with style.

Top that with a nice thumping of Golden – nice was an understatement – and let’s see how Eagle Valley does the second time around today against Steamboat. Go Devils. Again, I want to see this come down to Thursday.

• Biggest waste of a text message ever: After the Devils scored to make it 1-0 against Glenwood, I texted Huskies coach David Cope. I got a text back, saying, “I’m sitting in the stands behind you.” Cope and Kyle Mercer, the greatest assistant coach ever because he’s a Giants and Niners fan, were scouting.

• As for the Huskies, you tied Steamboat. Get over it. Do not mess around with Rifle. Drop two or three on them early, so the Bears don’t get any idea that have a chance. No looking ahead to Thursday.

• Best Homecoming get-up at a game: Connor Tedstrom.

• Two very under-rated defenders: Eagle Valley’s Steve White and Battle Mountain’s Chad Wilkinson. That wasn’t looking ahead to Thursday. This ditty’s just been a while in coming.

• Minor volleyball game on Saturday – OK, now I’m looking ahead. I will insert that Vail Christian must take care of Plateau Valley tonight. But here we go Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Edwards. In their second year at 2A, the Saints are going for a league title. Paonia’s big and athletic. The Saints will need to use their serving game and quicker attack to counter. I know it’s Homecoming, and the football game’s at 3 p.m., but I want a serious crowd there.

• Speaking of crowds, good job by Battle Mountain’s student body for staying through the entire game. It’s about time. While that game was admittedly not pretty, football is out for your games, and you should be at its games as well. Please do not take offense, Gypsum. I just know that everyone involved always comes out.

• Interesting game coming up this week for Eagle Valley football at Montezuma-Cortez. If the Devils can survive the trip down to Four Corners, this is a possible win. This could be the week the Devils’ offense comes alive, and the defense played really well last week against Delta. Absolutely no looking ahead to your next opponent is allowed.

• As for Huskies football, there was definitely some grumbling about Steamboat going for two after the Sailors’ first five touchdowns. I asked Steamboat coach Aaron Finch about it after the game. He said that his team needed a chance to work on its goal-line package and then went on to say how difficult the situation was and how conscious he was about sportsmanship in this situation.

It’s difficult to make a call on this one. I was thinking that was a little over the top at the time. But the bottom line is that Steamboat is so far ahead of Battle Mountain, and the Sailors just can’t “take it easy” if they’re going to go where they want to go – deep into the playoffs. If I’m Battle Mountain, I’d just file it away for the day when the tables turn – and they will at some point – and use it as motivation.

• Big football game this week in the Slope: Palisade at Glenwood. The Demons, after two nonconference losses to start the season, are 5-0 in the Slope and can set up a Week 10 showdown with Steamboat for the title with a win against the Bulldogs.

• Happy regionals week to Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley. For the Huskies, we have official confirmation that David Shearon and Amelia Ortiz were not separated at birth. Ortiz won Saturday at Wiggins with David Shearon finishing, gasp, second. Major props out to Ortiz for breaking 19 minutes. The ladies record at Battle Mountain is Erika Ghent at 18 minutes, 38 second and that’s darn good company.

Things to look for this week at Aspen. No. 1 – Battle Mountain boys vs. Moffat County. This should be tight for the regional title. Moffat is favored. Whatever. Show them what you’ve got, Huskies.

No. 2 – Do the Devils girls make history? Odds are four teams are going to state from the Slope and that puts Eagle Valley in the hunt for its first state berth as a squad.

Good luck to all.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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