Basalt, Aspen football teams to face key home challenges in league openers
During the first practice following a double-overtime win over Battle Mountain, Basalt High School senior Sam Sherry delivered an important message to his teammates. It was about effort and how the Longhorns needed to improve in that department to make a run at any championship dreams.
Two convincing wins since then and it seems the message was received with gusto.
“One of the things I’m most proud of is I think we’ve really improved every week. I think we are a much better team than when we played Woodland Park in Week 1,” BHS football coach Carl Frerichs said on Thursday. “Win or lose, we don’t control that, but we definitely control how hard we play. And I think since Sam said that on that Monday after the Battle Mountain game, for the Faith and Glenwood game, you watch our film right now and it’s really special to see how hard all these kids are playing.”
Fresh off a bye week, Basalt (4-0) will take its undefeated mark and No. 5 state ranking in Class 2A into Western Slope League play and its 7 p.m. homecoming game on Friday against No. 6 Moffat County (4-0) on the BHS field.
“Healing up, focusing on school, doing all those type of things, it was good for us to take a step back and regroup and really focus on ourselves in terms of getting healthy, school and then some things we need to work on,” Frerichs said of the bye.
After a season-opening 35-6 win over Woodland Park and that 40-34 overtime win over Battle Mountain on Sept. 2, both at home, Basalt went on the road to trounce both Faith Christian (37-0) and Glenwood Springs (34-14) to enter its bye with plenty of momentum.
The Longhorns’ opponent Friday is a Bulldog team that, at least on paper, might be the most impressive of the 2A WSL teams thus far. Moffat County’s four wins were all blowouts and came against Northfield (42-0), Steamboat Springs (50-0), Rawlins, Wyoming, (42-7) and Kennedy (51-15).
The Bulldogs have certainly established themselves early on as a legit contender in an always difficult league that includes perennial powerhouses in Delta and Rifle.
“It’s a cool thing for 2A Western Slope football. I really do think we are the best league in 2A,” Frerichs said. “We have four of the top 10 teams ranked in the state. We have the spring state champion in our league. Delta is always right there. Moffat is always tough. Aspen was in the spring playoffs. You are talking about almost every team right now believes they have a shot at going to the playoffs, which makes the league definitely tough.”
While Basalt at No. 5 is the top-ranked team in the 2A WSL, it does have plenty of company with Moffat at No. 6, Delta at No. 7 and Rifle at No. 9 this week in the CHSAANow.com poll. Eaton is holding steady at No. 1, followed by Resurrection Christian at No. 2, The Classical Academy at No. 3 and Severance at No. 4.
In the ever-important RPI as of Thursday evening, Moffat County comes in at No. 3 and Basalt is No. 4, the only two WSL teams in the top 10 at the moment. Delta is next best at No. 15, while Rifle is No. 17 and Aspen is No. 31 out of 39 teams.
As for Rifle, which won the one-off 3A state championship in the spring, the Bears open WSL play Friday night in Aspen. Kickoff is 7 p.m. on the AHS turf.
After a slow start with losses to Palisade and Glenwood Springs, Rifle enters the contest 2-2 overall and very much in the league hunt.
Aspen is 1-3 and losers of three straight, including a penalty-filled 20-17 defeat at Steamboat last week. The Skiers have been competitive in each game but haven’t yet found a way to push through for the win outside of their season-opener against Colorado Springs Christian.
“The biggest thing going into this game is realizing that we have to take care of the way that we play football and not worry about the team on the other side of the ball,” Aspen coach Travis Benson said. “It’s, like I said, worrying about how we play and cleaning up mistakes and not putting ourselves in situations that we have to overcome to get points on the board.”
An advantage for Aspen this week will be playing on its home turf after having played the past three games on the road. The season opener way back on Aug. 27 has been the Skiers’ lone home contest so far this fall. They did not have a single home game in all of September.
“It’s nice to be back at home for a change,” Benson said. “Three weeks on the road will definitely take its toll on you a little bit.”
The other 2A WSL game on Friday will be Delta (3-1) traveling to Coal Ridge (0-4).
Up in 3A, Glenwood Springs (3-1), which is effectively No. 11 in the state rankings this week, is hosting top-ranked Roosevelt (4-0). Kickoff is 7 p.m. on Stubler Memorial Field.
Aspen boys tennis wins regular-season finale
The Aspen High School boys tennis team capped off its regular season on Thursday with a 4-3 home win over visiting Fruita, played at the Maroon Creek Club.
Quinn McKie and Josh Ward each won at No. 2 and 3 singles, respectively. At No. 1 doubles, Robert Holton and Micky Terkun paired to win, while at No. 2 doubles it was Beckett Brennan and Alex Schlosser with the win.
Next up, both Aspen and Basalt will head to regionals next week in Grand Junction. The state tournament is scheduled to begin Oct. 14 in Pueblo.
Aspen volleyball falls to GJC, returns home Friday
The Aspen High School volleyball team had its three-match win streak snapped on Tuesday in a 3-2 home loss to Grand Junction Central. Set scores were 23-25, 25-17, 25-12, 24-26 and 11-15.
Aspen fell to 4-2 overall. The Skiers next host Delta (7-4) at 6 p.m. Friday inside the AHS gymnasium. AHS then will host Cedaredge (6-6) at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Basalt (7-4) last played on Tuesday, losing 3-0 at Coal Ridge. The Longhorns are off until traveling to Cedaredge this coming Tuesday.
Basalt soccer loses to Palisade
The Basalt High School boys soccer team played Thursday, losing 9-2 at home against Palisade. The Longhorns dropped to 1-8 overall and next host Delta on Saturday.
Aspen (4-3-1) plays Saturday at Palisade. The Skiers’ game Tuesday at Coal Ridge was postponed midway through the first half because of lightning and not completed.
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