After a slow start, Basalt football puts away Olathe in its season opener, 28-0 | AspenTimes.com

After a slow start, Basalt football puts away Olathe in its season opener, 28-0

Offensive miscues stifled the Basalt High School football team early in Friday's season opener against visiting Olathe, but it all came together long enough for the Longhorns to pull out a 28-0 win on the BHS field.

"Definitely a lot to improve from," senior quarterback/linebacker Trevor Reuss said. "We learned a lot, but our defense played outstanding. Super solid. Some miscues offensively that we look to clean up. But a win is a win. We'll just improve from here."

The game included a roughly 50-minute long lightning delay between the third and fourth quarters, but by then Basalt, ranked No. 8 in Class 2A, had built its four-touchdown lead and simply wanted to finish off the final 12 minutes as quickly as possible.

While the game ended in lopsided fashion, the Class 1A Pirates kept things close early on.

"Our first quarter did not go so well," BHS senior receiver/linebacker Chace Maytham said. "I think everyone had some nerves from not playing for a whole year."

The Basalt defense forced a turnover only a couple of plays into the season, but the offense was unable to capitalize. In fact, the Longhorns had the ball inside the red zone on each of their first two possessions but came away with zero points. There was no score after the first quarter.

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Both offenses continued to play sloppy until late in the second quarter when the Longhorns capped off an 86-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Reuss to junior Jackson Rapaport for a 7-0 lead.

"I really felt like the offensive line was doing a pretty good job," Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said. "We were just missing some opportunities. We'd kill ourselves with a dropped pass or kill ourselves with a run that got stuck, but really overall I was pleased offensively."

Basalt made the most of the final four minutes of the half. After taking the 7-0 lead with 3:50 until the break, the defense forced a quick Olathe punt and drove 62 yards for another score, this time a 20-yard run by senior tailback Jake Reardon with 58 seconds remaining.

"It all clicked for us," Reuss said. "We were picking each other up. We were just doing our own job and trusting our teammates to do theirs."

The Longhorns opted for a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff. Simply trying to keep it out of a returner's hands, Basalt ended up recovering the live ball and used the gift to score once more, a short run by Reuss with about 11 seconds to play in the quarter. Basalt went to the locker room up 21-0.

The opening drive of the third quarter ended in much the same fashion, with Reuss scoring on a short run for what proved to be the final points of the game. Olathe had the ball facing a fourth-and-1 in its own territory when the third quarter ended and the game went into the lightning delay.

About 50 minutes later, Basalt's defense stuffed the Pirate offense on the fourth down and essentially went into run out the clock mode from there.

"I was proud of how the kids played," Frerichs said. "I thought we played really hard. I thought we played smart, we just ruined some opportunities early in the first quarter. Being inside the 10 and being inside the 20 and putting no points up on the board — if we want to be the team we want to be, we can't be doing that."

Basalt (1-0) will head to Battle Mountain next week. The Class 3A Huskies, now 2-0, destroyed Alameda on Friday, 50-8. They beat Middle Park, 14-7, in the season opener last week. Battle Mountain and BHS met last September in Basalt, with the Longhorns winning 41-33. Basalt also beat the Huskies 20-8 in 2016.

Basalt's next home game will be Game 3 on Sept. 14 against Pagosa Springs. They wrap up non-league play Sept. 21 at Paonia.

"We are confident, but we are also hungry," Maytham said. "We want to keep playing and playing at the level we are and even increase as the year goes on because it only gets harder."

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Three other teams in the 2A Western Slope League also opened the season Friday. No. 7 Rifle, the odds-on favorite to end Basalt’s two-year reign atop the WSL, rolled over Eagle Valley, 49-7. Moffat County won 40-7 over Summit County and Coal Ridge lost 22-14 to Meeker.

Delta opens its season Saturday, Sept. 1 against Thornton (Update: Delta won, 42-0). Aspen, which beat Meeker 38-26 in its season opener, had a bye this week. The Skiers next play Saturday, Sept. 8 at No. 1 Bayfield, the defending 2A state champions. Bayfield is 2-0 after beating Farmington (N.M.), 54-13, and San Juan (UT), 27-0.

Also of note, Glenwood Springs opened its season Friday with a 57-35 loss to Holy Family.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

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