Basalt football can’t contain Sand Creek speedster, falls 27-22 in state quarters

Aspen football loses 57-0 at The Classical Academy

Sand Creek's Greg Garnett runs with the ball against Basalt in the Class 3A state quarterfinals on Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Basalt. The Scorpions won, 27-22. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

Sand Creek’s Greg Garnett proved too slippery for the Basalt defense, as the one-man cheat code was the spark that carried the No. 6 seed Scorpions to a 27-22 upset of the No. 3 seed Longhorns on Saturday in the Class 3A state football quarterfinals on the BHS field.

Small in stature, the 5-foot-8 senior running back had certainly been on Basalt’s radar during the week, but Garnett’s video game-like moves were much more difficult to contain come game day than they were in practice. He rushed for 321 yards on only 18 carries, a 17.8 yards per carry average, with three touchdowns.

“We did work on it all week. We were very aware of who he was. The kids definitely knew the game plan going in,” Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said. “We got to give credit to him and his offensive line for getting off the ball and making big blocks. He does make some incredible plays where he goes to one side of the field and then all the way around. You don’t see a lot of that in high school football.”

Basalt, which was briefly ranked No. 1 in the 16-team 3A classification in this one-off spring season delayed from the fall by the pandemic, finishes 5-2 overall.

The team’s only other loss this season came at the hands of top overall seed Glenwood Springs, which rolled to a 56-13 win over No. 8 Northfield in their quarterfinal game on Saturday. The Demons will play No. 4 Rifle in the semifinals; the Bears held on to beat No. 5 The Academy on Saturday, 28-20.

Basalt High School's Sam Sherry runs after the catch against Sand Creek in the Class 3A state quarterfinals on Saturday, May 1, 2021, in Basalt. The Scorpions won, 27-22. Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times.

The Longhorns were in a spot to continue their season after taking a 22-21 lead with less than five minutes to play against the Scorpions, but Garnett’s dazzling 35-yard touchdown run with 2:47 to play put Sand Creek back on top for good. BHS had the ball just inside Sand Creek territory inside the final minute but a late interception on a flea flicker sealed its fate.

“We had our opportunities. That’s all we can ask,” Frerichs said. “They made some big plays. We made some big plays. We came out on the wrong end of the scoreboard, but again, I couldn’t be prouder of my kids. I thought they fought every down. I thought they played their hearts out.”

Basalt trailed 7-0 midway through the first quarter when Sand Creek’s Keith Reddix ran in a score from about 30 yards out. BHS answered less than two minutes later when senior quarterback Matty Gillis found junior Sam Sherry for an 18-yard pass and catch. A failed extra-point try kept it at 7-6.

The first quarter ended when Garnett broke free as time expired, finding the end zone 70 yards later for a 14-6 Sand Creek lead. By halftime the game was all tied, Sherry doing his best impersonation of Garnett by rushing for a score from nearly 60 yards out. Rulbe Alvarado ran in the 2-point conversion for the 14-14 deadlock at the break.

Gallery caption: Photos: Basalt football vs. Sand Creek

The Scorpions regained the lead at 21-14 late in the third quarter when Garnett broke free for a roughly 60-yard touchdown run. It was a 1-yard TD run by Basalt’s Trevin Beckman, set up by a whole lot of Cooper Crawford yardage, that brought BHS back to within a point late in the fourth quarter. A successful Gillis keeper on the 2-point try briefly gave Basalt the lead until Garnett’s final touchdown run only moments later.

“Honestly, when the season first started, I just wanted my kids to get to play,” Frerichs said. “And of course, when your season ends, there is only one happy team at the end. We are not that team today, but I couldn’t be more proud of my team.”

Sherry finished with 104 yards rushing on 10 carries for the Longhorns, which ran for 312 yards as a team.

Sand Creek, now 6-1, moves on to face No. 2 seed The Classical Academy next week in an all Colorado Springs semifinal game. TCA had no issues against an undermanned Aspen team on Saturday, beating the No. 7-seeded Skiers, 57-0. Aspen finishes the spring season 3-4 overall.

Next week’s Glenwood Springs-Rifle winner will face the Sand Creek-TCA winner in the May 15 championship game in Pueblo.

Basalt volleyball season ends at regionals

The Basalt High School volleyball season ended in Class 3A regional play on Saturday. The Longhorns lost to region host Eaton in their first and only match, 3-0. Set scores were 25-12, 25-10, 25-12.

The Reds entered regionals undefeated and is the postseason’s top overall seed. No. 16 seed The Vanguard School, the third team in that regional, withdrew and did not end up playing.

The Longhorns, seeded No. 24 in the 24-team regional tournament, ends the season 10-5 overall; the Longhorns won their first league title since 2007 this season.

Note: This story has been updated with The Vanguard School’s withdrawal from regional volleyball play. BHS did not actually meet them on the court, playing only Eaton on Saturday.

Basalt girls tennis season gets underway

The Basalt High School girls tennis season got underway Saturday with a 6-1 loss at Steamboat Springs. Scores were as follows:

Singles: 1. Evan Quinn, SS, def. Mari Elliott, B, 6-0, 6-1. 2. Grace Brice, SS, def. Hannah Miller, B, 6-0, 6-0. 3. Kelsey Norland, SS, def. Yosi Melendez, B, 6-2, 6-0.

Doubles: 1. Sloane Speer and Kayla O’Brien, SS, def. Lesly Cruz Hernandez and Ella Lahey, B, 6-1, 6-1. 2. Kali Waldman and Amanda Dietrich, SS, def. Frida Rojo and Georgia Searles, B, 6-2, 6-3. 3. Ella Chapman and Posy Skov, SS, def. Ivett Del Cid, Natalia Monterroso, B, 4-6, 6-0, 10-4. 4. Eileen Babonoyaba and Angelie Niebla, B, def. Charlotte Teusher and Avery Olson, SS, 6-4, 2-6, 10-5.