The Basalt Longhorns will get an early kickoff to the 2013 high school football season.
The Longhorns, for the second year in a row, will play a zero week game this week before most teams start the regular season.
The Longhorns, coming off a state playoff appearance and one of their most successful seasons in a decade, will travel to Paonia for a 7 p.m. kickoff Friday night in a nonconference game.
“There are some positives and negatives to a zero-week game,” Basalt head coach Carl Frerichs said. “You get a bye week during the season when you can heal up and get ready for league. But, it’s tough to get everything in in just two weeks.”
Frerichs said the momentum from last year’s 6-4 team that advanced to the first round of the state playoffs carried into the spring and summer.
“We had a great spring camp going against bigger schools,” said Frerichs, in his sixth season as the Basalt head coach. He’s been with the school for 11 years.
He said the Longhorns still will be tight on numbers with about 40 expected when final turnouts are counted.
The core of last year’s team that went 5-2 in the Class 2A Western League is back. The Longhorns, Class 3A in most sports, are 2A in Colorado’s football classifications.
Frerichs said Basalt’s leading rusher from last year, Cody Banc, is back to power the offense this year.
He rushed for 560 yards last year, even missing one game.
“He’s our leading running back and linebacker,” Frerichs said of the 5-10, 165-pound senior.
Quarterback Matt Williams, an all-state rugby player, returns for his second season as a starter.
“It’s alwasy nice when you have your quarterback coming back,” Frerichs said. “He’s also a returning starting linebacker. He’s a really good high school football player.”
Oswaldo Olemdo also is back for the Longhorns. He missed last season but is back with the BHS football team this season.
“He’s the strong kid on the team,” Frerichs said. “He’ll help us on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.”
Senior Felipe Martinez will anchor the Basalt line. The returning starter (offense and defense) goes 6-1, 250 pounds.
“He’s the heart and soul of our offensive and defensive lines.”
Martinez will line up at several spots on defense, Frerichs said.
Jake Levy , a junior, is back to help up front. The 6-2, 250-pound junior started as a sophomore last year.
“He keeps growing into a better football player,” Frerichs said.
He said the Longhorns also hope to have Josh Ridgeway in the lineup this season. The 6-4, 250-pounder battled injuries after moving to Basalt last year.
Hopefully, Frerichs said, he’ll be able to play some this season.
The veteran Basalt coach said three seniors add to core of the BHS football tam.
Tucker Jenkins, Mark Barto and Tim Johnson all are primary contributors, Frerichs said.
Jenkins, who led the league with five interceptions last season, is a preseason all-state selection at defensive back.
“Barto had an amazing spring and summer as a wide receiver and defensive back,” Frerichs said.
Johnson is the fastest player on the squad, which helps on offense and defense.
The three helped the Basalt baseball team power into the state playoffs last spring.
“We’ve got to stay healthy and we’ve got to do well in school,” Frerichs said. “That’s the thing for us.”
The Basalt football team will open the home season with a nonleague game against rival Roaring Fork on Aug 30.
After a bye week, the Longhorns will play at Bayfield to open the Western League season on Sept. 13. Bayfield, the state runner-up in 2A football two years ago, reached the state semifinals last year before losing at Platte Valley.
Basalt will host Pagosa Springs on Oct. 20.
Basalt will close the 2013 season with the annual rivalry game against the Aspen Skiers. This year, the game will be played in Aspen on Oct. 25.