Basalt football comes up short against Meeker | AspenTimes.com

Basalt football comes up short against Meeker

Nate Peterson

After a one-point loss to Meeker to open the season last year, Basalt waited a whole year for revenge. The Longhorns are still waiting.On its new field, Basalt hung close with the Cowboys for four quarters but couldn’t answer Meeker’s final touchdown, losing 42-34 in a shootout.After Meeker went up with about three minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Basalt junior Ryan Gawrys broke free on the ensuing kickoff. Gawrys looked like he might score while running near midfield, but lost his handle on the ball when he was hit, and fumbled. The Cowboys recovered and ran out the clock to preserve the win.”Overall as a team, we played very well,” Basalt coach Forrest Grosh said. “We had very few penalties, maybe three, which I was really pleased with. I was pleased with team’s demeanor and attitude. They never stopped believing. It came right down to the wire, we just came up a little short.”Basalt took a 7-6 lead on its first possession when senior quarterback Tucker Hinchcliffe took off for the first of two 70-yard touchdown runs.The Longhorns then padded their lead when Hinchcliffe hooked up with senior wideout Rory Johnson for a touchdown pass. Meeker tied the game with a touchdown and a two-point conversion before Basalt struck again, this time on a three-yard plunge from fullback Willie Klein. The Longhorns missed the extra point.The Cowboys stole the lead back with only 11 seconds remaining in the half on a touchdown pass.In the second half, Hinchcliffe broke free for his second touchdown and running back Tony DiBacco added Basalt’s other touchdown. Grosh said both of Hinchcliffe’s long scoring runs were actually designed pass plays off bootlegs. When he couldn’t find anyone open, Hinchcliffe tucked the ball and took off.”He’s got a lot of breakaway speed,” Grosh said. “He’s pretty tough to catch.”Basalt’s passing game took a hit when Johnson – Hinchcliffe’s favorite target – went down in the first half with a shoulder injury. Johnson was making a tackle from his safety spot on defense when the injury occurred.The good news is that nothing was broken, Grosh said.Even without its top receiver, Grosh was pleased with the way his offense performed.”It’s great to be able to put that many points on the board,” he said. “Other than the fumble at the end, we didn’t have any offensive turnovers. Those are a few things we’re looking for in a game. … Defensively, we couldn’t stop them. They ran the triple option very well. They also had a very good passing game. They couldn’t stop us and we couldn’t stop them.”Basalt next plays at Grand Valley at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Cardinals are 1-0 after they routed Aspen 24-0 in the opener for both teams.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.com