Football: Basalt holds off Coal Ridge | AspenTimes.com

Football: Basalt holds off Coal Ridge

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Jim RyanLonghorns senior Bertilio Garcia breaks free for one of his two fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns Friday at Basalt High School.

BASALT – Basalt took care of business.

Now, the stage is set: one game between valley rivals to determine who secures third place in the 2A Western League and, more important, who gets to play on.

The Longhorns (5-3 overall,

4-2 conference) set up their pivotal regular-season finale with Aspen with a strong effort Friday against Coal Ridge. They scored on their first offensive play in the opening quarter, and then twice on long runs from Bertilio Garcia in the fourth en route to a 21-14 victory.

“The biggest thing I’m proud of is that we had a lot of kids get beat up, but they fought through the injuries and kept playing,” Basalt head coach Carl Frerichs said. “I’m really proud of them.”

Quarterback Matt Williams hooked up with receiver Josh Andrade on a 65-yard strike early in the first quarter to stake the home team to a 7-0 cushion.

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The two defenses starred from there until the waning minutes of the second quarter, when the Titans (4-4, 3-3) took advantage of a short field following a weak Longhorns punt, producing a rushing touchdown.

They missed the extra point, however, and trailed heading to the locker room.

Garcia, filling in for injured tailback Cody Banc, shook free on a third-and-7 early in the fourth and scampered 20 yards for a touchdown to give Basalt an eight-point advantage.

On the ensuing Coal Ridge possession, the Longhorns’ Tucker Jenkins picked off Titans quarterback Gunnar Pagni.

Garcia struck again.

The senior, who rushed for more than 100 yards on the night, scored from 40 yards out to all but put this game out of reach.

“He started both ways – at linebacker and running back – stepped up and had a huge game,” Frerichs said.

Coal Ridge, which now has dropped three straight, tacked on a late score but could not recover an onside kick.

Now, the Longhorns will set their sights on the Skiers – and a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.

“I don’t think (it would be an upset) this year. If we play well, we have a great opportunity,” Frerichs said. “Two rivals battling for a playoff berth – it doesn’t get any better than that.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com