Steamboat Springs High School sophomore Christian Ramirez tackles Battle Mountain's Sawyer Bluhm after Bluhm intercepted the ball during the first half of Friday night's game in Steamboat. Battle Mountain went on to beat the Sailors, 12-7.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School sophomore Christian Ramirez tackles Battle Mountain's Sawyer Bluhm after Bluhm intercepted the ball during the first half of Friday night's game in Steamboat. Battle Mountain went on to beat the Sailors, 12-7.

Steamboat Springs football falls to Battle Mountain, 12-7

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— The punching bag finally got its revenge Friday night in Steamboat Springs.

For the first time since 1992, the Battle Mountain Huskies defeated the Sailors, ending a string of years and games where Battle Mountain football wasn’t even the bridesmaid.

Usually, the Huskies weren’t even invited to the wedding.

But Friday at Gardner Field, on another unseasonably warm October night, the Huskies rode the legs of Chris Libertini — who wasn’t even alive the last time Battle Mountain beat Steamboat — to a 12-7 victory.

“Was it ’92?” Battle Mountain coach David Joyce asked, peachy in his post-game demeanor.

“That’s a long dang time. It means a lot. We finally finished a game. We were close all year. Rifle, we had a 14-point lead. Moffat, we had a 14-point lead in the second half. Delta, we had a lead, but we just couldn’t hold on. Finally, we finished a game.”

But that eerie feeling of a late-game collapse had to creep back into their minds late Friday night. After Battle Mountain jumped out to a 12-0 lead, a young Steamboat team never quit, cutting the lead to 12-7 with 8 minutes, 59 seconds left in the fourth quarter after a 7-yard Michael Savory touchdown run.

Steamboat (0-9 overall, 0-6 in the Western Slope League) went three-and-out on its next possession before Battle Mountain picked up two first downs in the last two minutes to end the game.

“If the kids weren’t trying, there would be some panic or sadness,” said Steamboat coach Lonn Clementson, whose team often had as many as six sophomores on the field. “But we’re doing what we can. … Once we get one, I just think things are going to happen.”

Youth and a failure to execute were characteristic of Steam­boat’s first half.

Although Steamboat’s defense played well, the offense did little to help. The Sailors gained 76 first-half yards and made only one first down. Steamboat had three, three-and-outs and an interception in five first-half possessions. Still, the Sailors had an opportunity to take a first-quarter lead. Sailors quarterback Christian Ramirez found Michael Savory for a 49-yard gain midway through the first quarter to give Steamboat a first-and-10 at the Battle Mountain 22. But a run, a holding penalty and two short passes later and the Sailors turned the ball over on downs.

After the teams traded possessions, Battle Mountain (2-7, 1-5) finally put a drive together midway through the second quarter. Quarterback Jake Engle found Reeve Sanders up the left sideline for a 41-yard touchdown to make it 6-0. The play capped a 10-play, 89-yard drive that took 4 minutes, 2 seconds off the clock.

The Huskies missed two golden opportunities to extend the lead near the end of the half. Battle Mountain moved inside the Steamboat 10 on successive drives to end the half, but each time missed field goals.

Steamboat’s offense played much better in the second half. The Sailors gained 140 of their 216 total yards in the second half. On the ground, the Sailors were even better, running for 125 second-half yards after just 22 in the first half.

Still, it was the legs of Libertini that won the game. With Steam­boat’s defense often leaving only five guys in the box, the junior gained 151 yards on 28 carries.

His 56-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter proved to be the difference.

“For a sec, I was like, ‘All right boys, it’s about to be the same game where we botch it,’” Libertini said. “But then our team pulled through and found some heart. This win will help us move toward next year. It was a big win for us.”

Steamboat was led by the running of Dylan Preston and Maury Mirante. The two juniors combined for 107 yards on 21 carries, 99 of those yards coming in the second half.

“We’re just not to the point where opportunities are given to us and we take advantage of those,” Clementson said. “I just really feel strongly that although we’re winless, that really good things are happening. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but we got some really good things happening.”

The two teams now prep for rivalry games. Battle Mountain plays at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Eagle Valley, while Steam­boat travels for a 7 p.m. game Friday at Moffat County.

Game statistics

Battle Mountain 12, Steamboat Springs 7

Battle Mountain:

First Downs 12

Rushes-Yards 37-173

Comp-Att-Int 9-20-0

Yards Passing 144

Total Yards 317

Punts-Avg. 5-32

Fumbles-lost 1-0

Penalties-Yards 7-40

Steamboat Springs:

First Downs 9

Rushes-Yards 42-147

Comp-Att-Int 3-9-1

Yards Passing 69

Total Yards 216

Punts-Avg. 6-27

Fumbles-lost 1-0

Penalties-Yards 3-30

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Battle Mountain 00-06-06-00—12

Steamboat 00-00-00-07—7

SCORING SUMMARY

First Quarter

None.

Second Quarter

BM — 6:33, Reeve Sanders 41 pass from Jake Engle. (Pass fail).

Third Quarter

BM — 4:27, Chris Libertini 56 run. (Pass fail).

Fourth Quarter

S — 8:59, Michael Savory 7 run. (Landen Mertz kick).

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

BM: Libertini 28-151, 1 TD; Zach Guida 2-13; Engle 5-10; Sanders 2-(-1).

S: Savory 4-22, 1 TD; Brad Ryan 4-7; Christian Ramirez 10-13; Evan Hornstein 3-(-2); Dylan Preston 13-70; Maury Mirante 8-37.

Passing

BM: Engle 9-19-0, 144 yards, 1 TD; Cody Hervert 0-1-0, 0 yards.

S: Ramirez 3-9-1, 69 yards.

Receiving

BM: Libertini 2-51; Hervert 1-4, Irving Buacho 1-(-2); Sanders 5-91, 1 TD.

S: Savory 1-49; Randall Nelson 1-5; Preston 1-15.

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