Basalt football off to another hot start, routs Eagle Valley in home opener
Two games in and QB1 is feeling particularly good about that offense, which has barely been slowed early on this season for the Basalt High School football team. It’s a big reason why the Longhorns have coasted to another 2-0 start.
“It’s been going well,” BHS senior quarterback Noah Johnston said after Friday night’s 49-15 rout of Eagle Valley in the Longhorns’ home opener. “I feel like I have a good line in front of me. I’ve got good personnel with me, good receivers, good running backs. It gives me a lot more confidence on the field knowing I have people around me I can trust and go to with the ball.”
Early indications point toward Basalt having another strong regular season. Last fall, BHS went undefeated in the regular season and then beat Woodland Park at home to open the playoffs. But a 41-7 loss at eventual state champion Eaton in the second round ended Basalt’s season at 10-1 overall.
The Longhorns opened this season with a zero week win at Summit, 28-0 on Aug. 18, before Friday’s domination of Eagle Valley, which like Summit plays a classification higher than Basalt in 3A.
“We knew they were going to throw the ball a lot. I was really happy with my secondary and really happy with my D-line. I thought they played lights out tonight and they did a good job on some calls we had out there and they made some great plays,” longtime BHS coach Carl Frerichs said of the Eagle Valley game. “Offensively, I just think we keep rolling.”
Basalt scored 28 points in the first quarter against Eagle Valley and another 21 in the second quarter to lead 49-7 at halftime. A pick-6 by Taylor Hays late in the second quarter pushed the BHS lead past 40 points, the magic number needed to start the running clock. The Devils outscored the Longhorns 8-0 in the second half with BHS playing mostly its junior varsity players.
“Tonight we played really, really well. Second half you are just trying to get everyone in and I thought moving some kids around made us a little bit sloppy, but that’s more on the coaches than it is the kids,” Frerichs said. “We need to be better tacklers in the open field and keep working on our assignments, and just keep focusing on us. That’s really what we do in Basalt. We try to get better every day at practice at what we do. We are not going to change anything up.”
Ranked No. 7 in Class 2A in the preseason polls put out by MaxPreps, Basalt next gets to face Buena Vista, preseason No. 9 in Class 1A. The game, to be played this coming Friday in Basalt with an early 5 p.m. kickoff, is a last-second addition to the schedule after Roaring Fork had to drop its varsity team this fall, sending those players to join with Glenwood Springs.
“We were obviously excited to play a rival in Roaring Fork, but it was good for us to get more of a challenge in Buena Vista and see where we are at,” Johnston said. “We are proud of the team for the start to the season, but we are looking to improve every week and get better and better and continue winning and hopefully make the playoffs and make a run.”
This is already the second change to the schedule for Basalt after Battle Mountain also dropped its varsity program before the season. While that can make game prepping difficult, Frerichs sees it as a plus for the team. Basalt could have taken the forfeit win against Roaring Fork, but it would have done no favors to the team’s RPI, which largely determines postseason seeding. Playing a team like Buena Vista is much more likely to give the Longhorns an RPI boost, regardless of the outcome.
“This is a crazy time where two out of our first four games were not originally scheduled when we made the two-year contract two years ago,” Frerichs said. “A league champion last year, a very strong program, they are usually a seven- or eight-win team. So, it’s going to be a lot of fun for the kids.”
Aspen falls at Gunnison, now 0-2
Also Friday night, Aspen traveled to Gunnison, preseason No. 10 in Class 1A per MaxPreps, losing 35-20. The loss dropped the Skiers to 0-2 after their dramatic 36-28 loss at home to Glenwood Springs in the season opener. Gunnison moved to 2-0 on the year.
The Skiers will be off this coming week for experiential education. They will return to the field Sept. 8 with a home game against Meeker.