ASPEN - When he took a moment Tuesday to review the 2012 season, Basalt head football coach Carl Frerichs was quick to laud the contributions of a talented senior class.
All 10 players starters and were instrumental in helping the squad amass a 6-4 record - including a rare win over rival Aspen - finish third in the deep 2A Western and secure a second playoff berth in the past three seasons, Frerichs said. Seven of them recently were honored at a gathering of league coaches.
Six seniors - Fabian Martinez, Hayden Quintana, Josh Andrade, Jonny Medrano, Bertilio Garcia and Austin Snyder - were all-conference first-team selections. Additionally, senior Kerry Reynolds and juniors Felipe Martinez, Cody Banc and Matt Williams were honorable-mentions.
"Their work ethic, attitude and everything they did is going to be missed in the future," Frerichs said of his departing class. "These kids worked their tails off from the summer to the season and did everything we asked."
Aspen's first-team selections were Dan Schwartz, Jake Gallaher, Harry Ferguson, Luke O'Callaghan and Cameron Siewruk. Luke Rider, Ryan Fitzgerald, J.J. Ready and Evan Morris were honorable-mentions.
Fabian Martinez overcame ACL surgeries in both his freshman and sophomore years to anchor Basalt's offensive and defensive fronts.
He and Quintana, a nose tackle weighing all of 155 pounds, combined to form one of the league's stingiest defenses against the run. Their influence was felt in a regular-season finale against the Skiers in which Basalt allowed just three points en route to its fifth win in six games.
"Fabian is the strongest kid on the team, and it carries over to the way he plays," Frerichs said. "He goes 100 percent in every game and every practice, and he was mature beyond his years.
"I felt like as the season went on, there was no better nose (tackle) in the league than Hayden. He caused havoc, was extremely high-energy and an extremely strong, smart player. To be 155 pounds and play at the level he did was a credit to him."
In addition to helping anchor the secondary, Andrade was the Longhorns' big-play threat through the air. He hauled in 25 catches for 439 yards - including a long of 60.
"I'm pretty sure he led the league in (receiving) yards. He was a really special player," Frerichs said. "He really was a threat out there. Against Olathe, they went to a cover-two defense because they were worried about us throwing over the top to Josh. That really helped us out."
Medrano provided major assistance, too. He embraced his role as a lead blocker in the backfield and proved one of the league's most active and physical linebackers.
"He's the heart and soul of Basalt football," Frerichs said. "He's been a starter since his sophomore year, and he's just a heck of a football player. He was a stud."
So was Garcia, a player renowned for his kicking prowess who took on a host of other roles this season.
"We talked him into playing a field position, and he played six or seven throughout the season," Frerichs said. "He was just our fill-in guy for everything, and he really got hot at the end of the year. He was averaging six yards per carry during our win streak at the end.
"He really loves kicking, but he did what was best for a small school. He stepped up and played very well."
Snyder also excelled in a number of roles, from emerging as one of the top defensive ends in the league to shifting from tight end to the backfield and carrying the ball with great success down the stretch.
"His size, strength and heart really helped us out," Frerichs said.
After former all-conference selection Casey Hornburg went down with an injury, Schwartz shifted from fullback to tailback and became Aspen's top offensive weapon. He rushed for 722 yards and scored 16 touchdowns (two receiving).
He might have been even more valuable on defense, where he picked off five passes in the secondary and routinely punished receivers daring to go over the middle.
"He epitomized what Aspen football is all about: doing what's best for the team," Skiers head coach Mike Sirko said. "He moved around and really did a great job for us and brought a lot of leadership qualities to the field. He was so unselfish."
Schwartz benefited from the play of linemen Gallaher, Siewruk and O'Callaghan, who routinely opened up running lanes and flustered defensive fronts.
Additionally, Gallaher led the team with 106 tackles.
O'Callaghan will return next season, as will Ferguson, Aspen's top receiver, who also pitched in with 40 tackles.
"These kids were all willing to do whatever it takes," Sirko said. "They're all such special kids."