Defense keys Battle Mountain win over Roaring Fork
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
EDWARDS, Colorado – The last two weeks of Battle Mountain football have seen a weird phenomenon.
Not only are the Huskies winning games – too easily – but the faithful are seeing something they really haven’t seen in a while, defense, a unit that swarms to the ball, tackles efficiently and makes the big play when necessary.
A smothering defensive effort – plus 4 in the turnover category – in a 42-0 win against Roaring Fork Friday was necessary, as the Huskies’ offense sputtered early.
The Rams had their deepest drive of the game midway through the second quarter, getting the ball down to the Huskies’ 7-yard line, but Battle Mountain made the play. The ball went to Roaring Fork’s Tanner Nieslanek, but the Huskies defense stripped the ball for a fumble, stopping the threat.
Battle Mountain finally cranked up the offense after that turnover, sparked by an 82-yard run from Blaize Olle. The Huskies’ Reeve Sanders capped the drive from 1 yard out for a 7-0 lead with 3:06 left in the first half.
After a 46-6 run-oriented win against Summit County last weekend – Battle Mountain surprisingly threw just once – the Huskies were planning on airing it out against the Rams. The only problem was that Huskies were not in sync. Quarterback Jake Engle looked a little rusty overthrowing some passes. When he hit the mark, his receivers had a case of the drops.
With a 7-0 lead, the Battle Mountain defense turned in another three-and-out, giving the Huskies the ball on the Rams’ 43. Battle Mountain finally got it going through the air on a fourth-and-17 from the Roaring Fork 36 with a touchdown strike from Engle to Sanders for a 14-0 halftime lead.
After what was likely a loud halftime talk, Battle Mountain tried the onside kick. It went out of bounds – and also didn’t go 10 yards – putting the Rams on the Huskies’ 46. Roaring Fork got it down to the Battle Mountain 12, but this time it was Eric Weiss picking off a pass from Rams quarterback Tanner Gianinetti.
The Huskies eschewed the pass and reverted to smash-mouth football with a heavy dose of Zach Guida, Chris Libertini and Sanders. After Weiss’ return to the Battle Mountain 46, the Huskies went 54 yards. Sanders again did the honors from 20 yards.
Weiss appeared to have a pick-six on he Rams’ ensuing possession. The score was called back on a flag, but the Huskies needed only one play – 30 yards from Engle to Sanders to make it, 28-0, late in the third quarter.
By the fourth quarter, the Huskies seemed to be getting in an offensive groove. Engle hit tight-end Tim Licciardi for a 43-yard gain, which set up Zach Guida for a 4-yard scoring run. Libertini ended the evening with a 12-yard scoring scamper.
Battle Mountain’s defense got a richly-deserved shutout, its first since Week 1 last year against Summit (7-0).
Friday marked the first time Battle Mountain had opened the season 2-0 since 2006 (Aspen, 35-2, and Moffat County, 14-6). That last time the Huskies were 3-0 was 1997. Battle Mountain will try to get their third win of the season next week at The Classical Academy.
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