‘Horns football still searching | AspenTimes.com

‘Horns football still searching

Jon MaletzAspen, CO Colorado

BASALT While the surprise Skiers continue to be the talk of the town, the Basalt football team is reeling after another crippling defeat.The Longhorns had their extra point blocked with three and a half minutes remaining Friday against Coal Ridge, missed a 40-yard field goal in the waning minutes and fell, 12-11. The loss, marred by penalties and missed opportunities, is Basalt’s fifth in six games.Head coach Forrest Grosh hinted Wednesday about dissension among his ranks.”I know the team’s frustrated, the coaches are frustrated, and the parents in the community are frustrated,” he said. “The unfortunate thing is on Friday night there was some finger-pointing. … To be successful, you can’t have that. We have to do this all together. We have to win together or lose together.”Omit Basalt’s 45-point outburst against Cedaredge earlier this season, and the Longhorns’ offense is being outscored 95-30 and has been held to a touchdown or fewer in four of six games.Basalt’s offense was stagnant again Friday, but it looked as though 11 points would be enough in a defensive struggle. The Longhorns took a 3-0 lead into halftime after a 26-yard field goal from junior Craig Riggins. The advantage swelled to five when their special teams pinned the Titans inside their own 5-yard line, then recorded a safety. The lead was short-lived. Coal Ridge moved the ball inside the Basalt 30 after a Longhorns unsportsmanlike conduct. The Titans scored, pulling ahead, 6-5.Another set of Basalt penalties set Coal Ridge up inside the Longhorns 30 in the fourth quarter. This time, however, the Basalt defense stiffened, forcing a fourth-and-16 from nearly 40 yards out. The Titans called timeout.”We thought we knew where they were going, and they went exactly where we had planned,” Grosh remembered. “We put 6-foot-6 Taylor Niko-Foreman at cornerback so he could outjump their receiver on the jump ball. Unfortunately, he slipped.”Coal Ridge quarterback Keenan Grumley evaded a strong rush and a tackler who had Grumley in his grasp, then lofted a pass into the end zone. Niko-Foreman slipped, and the receiver pulled in the catch, stretching the lead to 12-5.”The body language was questionable after that, but I talked to the guys on the sideline and made them realize it was a one-score game,” Grosh said. “It was time to go down and score a touchdown. Sure enough, we did.”Fullback Cody Kosinski capped a sustained drive with a touchdown run with just over three minutes to play to cut the lead to one. Coal Ridge blocked the ensuing extra point.The Longhorns recovered an onside kick, then took a few shots at the end zone before Riggins lined up for a 40-yarder with 90 seconds to play. The kick sailed wide left. “It was a devastating loss,” Grosh said.Grosh will try and rally his troops as they prepare for a difficult final stretch. First up is Friday’s trip to Olathe to face a team undoubtedly fuming after a loss to Aspen, which dropped the Pirates from the ranks of the unbeaten – and out of the state’s top 10. The Longhorns finish the season with home games against Roaring Fork and Hotchkiss. The coach is hoping his team takes its cue from its downvalley rival Friday.”We lost a close one to Aspen, and for them to beat Olathe, we should be able to beat Olathe,” he said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen. [Olathe has] been good all year. … I try to get it across to the team that if we had a couple breaks here and there, all these people aren’t frustrated, and we’re in a lot better mood.”Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is jmaletz@aspentimes.com