Preps: Aspen football returns after ex-ed, Basalt faces tough road game vs Faith |

Preps: Aspen football returns after ex-ed, Basalt faces tough road game vs Faith

Aspen High School quarterback Nate Thomas steps back to pass as the football team hosts Colorado Springs Christian on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, on the AHS turf. The Skiers won, 42-21.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The Aspen High School football team didn’t simply have a bye last week. The players essentially didn’t practice at all due to the school’s experiential education trips, and in an offensive system like the Skiers have that depends so much on timing, that time away is always a concern for the coaching staff.

“When our game is a little bit more of a spread concept, there is a lot of timing involved and just that natural procedure between not just the line, but then the quarterback and the receiver, and we are hoping that stays in line,” AHS coach Travis Benson said Thursday. “It’s been a great week of practice. The kids came back definitely with a sense of work ethic and to get back after it and grinding. Especially the last two days of great practices and we are looking to get back out on the field and play another mountain school.”

Aspen (1-0) will look to shake off the rust Friday night with a trip to Summit (1-1). Kickoff for the non-league game is 7 p.m. in Breckenridge.

The Class 3A Tigers opened their season with a 27-0 loss to Delta, one of Aspen’s Class 2A Western Slope League foes, before a 56-0 rout of Skyview last week to get in the win column.

The Skiers’ lone game was their Aug. 27 season opener, a wild 42-21 home win over Colorado Springs Christian. In that game, Aspen rallied from a 21-7 deficit in the third quarter to win big, with Nate Thomas and Porter Lee sharing snaps at quarterback. Lee also proved to be the team’s best receiving threat when not under center.

“We definitely need to wake up and play football earlier in the game,” Benson said of what he wants to see from the players in their second game. “A little bit of first-game jitters, I think. Defense played well, and the offense, when it got rolling, did really well. I was proud of all the kids for hanging in and fighting through some adversity, too.”

Summit is the first of three straight non-league road games against bigger programs for Aspen, as it will travel to Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs in the coming weeks before opening WSL play at home against Rifle on Oct. 1.

According to the MaxPreps archives, Aspen and Summit have not played since the 2005 season, a 35-14 win for the Tigers.

“They are very similar to us,” Benson said of Summit. “They’ve been building a football program up there with those coaches and the kids. It’s mountain football. It cycles back and forth and they definitely have some skill in their receivers and their quarterback and they have size up front. It’s impressive to see.”

Basalt High School's Cooper Crawford is stopped short on a run against Battle Mountain on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, on the BHS field. The Longhorns eventually won 40-34 in double overtime.
Photo by Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Longhorns travel to Faith Christian in key 2A tilt

In one of the more intriguing games in 2A this week, the Basalt High School football team plays Friday night against Faith Christian. Kickoff is 7 p.m. in Arvada.

The Longhorns (2-0) are ranked No. 6 in the classification this week, while the Eagles (1-0) are effectively No. 14. It’s the sort of win that could pay big dividends for either team later on in the season.

“It’s a huge game,” Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said. “We just want to get in the playoff picture and then you never know what is going to happen. Games like this can have a big factor in whether you control your own destiny at the end of the season or not.”

Faith’s lone game this season came Aug. 27, a 42-0 win over Prospect Ridge Academy. The Eagles only went 2-3 last year in a shortened spring season, but were a strong 9-2 overall back in the 2019 fall season.

The Longhorns have recorded wins over Woodland Park (35-6) and Battle Mountain this season. The latter was last week’s 40-34 double-overtime win over the Huskies in Basalt.

“Really proud of the kids for pulling that out … for our kids to not fold when things didn’t go our way is a huge sign for our season,” Frerichs said. “All we ask is for every kid to play as hard as they can. I’d like to see my defense every play play as hard as they can. And then offensively and special teams, I just hope we keep it going. I think on both those phases we are really playing pretty well.”

Basalt hasn’t played Faith Christian since the first round of the state playoffs in 2010, a 40-21 win for the Eagles, who were the defending state champions that season. That game also marked Basalt’s first postseason appearance in 27 years and the first with Frerichs as head coach.

“We played them really tough and it was a great game,” Frerichs recalled. “Going down there for that game and knowing it from the 2010 time I think does help us kind of know what we are getting ourselves into.”

Basalt volleyball wins again

The Basalt High School volleyball team hosted rival Roaring Fork on Thursday night, winning 3-1. Set scores were 25-16, 23-25, 25-18 and 25-19.

The Rams fell to 1-10 overall, while the Longhorns improved to 6-2 overall coming off a busy weekend of tournament play that included a 2-0 win over Glenwood Springs. BHS also has a 3-2 win over Aspen this season to have already beaten the other Roaring Fork Valley teams at least once.

The Longhorns aren’t scheduled to play again until hosting Grand Valley on Tuesday. Aspen, which is only 1-1 and coming off ex-ed, returns to the court Saturday with a game at Rifle.

BHS soccer loses to Grand Junction

Also Thursday, the Basalt boys soccer team hosted Grand Junction, losing 10-0. The loss dropped the Longhorns to 1-5 overall. BHS is off until hosting Aspen on Wednesday.

The Skiers, 1-1 on the season, return from ex-ed with a home game on Saturday against Steamboat Springs.

Aspen’s Weiss wins cross country race in Hotchkiss

Aspen cross country returned from ex-ed last Saturday by sending a group to Hotchkiss for the North Fork Invitational.

AHS junior Elsie Weiss won the girls race in 21 minutes, 47.20 seconds, while Aspen freshman Eden Bohart was third in 24:50.80. AHS sophomore Yasmine Khan-Farooqi just missed the top 10, finishing 11th in 27:17.30.

In the boys race, Ouray’s Vincent Schierenberg won in 18:23.80, while Aspen sophomore Edwin Ryerson was fourth in 20:20.

The Skiers are next scheduled to head to Grand Junction for a meet on Saturday.

Golf teams compete in Vail

The Aspen and Basalt boys golf teams competed Tuesday in a tournament at the Vail Golf Club. Aspen finished third with a team score of 231, a stroke behind runner-up Steamboat Springs. Vail Mountain took the win with 221, while Basalt tied for seventh with 244.

Aspen senior Nic Pevny had the best local finish, tying for fourth with 75, three shots back of first place. AHS senior Lucas Lee shot 77 to finish in ninth and junior Sky Sosna shot 79 to tie for 11th.

Basalt’s best round came from sophomore Alec Claassen, who shot 80 to tie for 16th place. BHS junior Hunter Oger was a shot back in 21st.

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