Aspen, Basalt football head north to close regular season

There is potential for mass confusion tonight, but Basalt High School football coach Carl Frerichs is hoping to avoid that by winning.

“We are looking at it as we need to win. We want to have that outright championship,” Frerichs said. “If we don’t play well against Roaring Fork, we don’t control anything. Really, we need to make sure we are focused for that.”

Basalt (6-2 overall, 4-0 Western Slope League) will finish its regular season tonight with a 7 p.m. game at Roaring Fork (3-5, 3-1 WSL) in Carbondale. A win would give the Longhorns the outright Class 2A WSL championship.

It would be the first league title for the Longhorns since 1984.

A loss to Roaring Fork, coupled with a Moffat County win over Aspen today, would create a three-way tie between Basalt, Roaring Fork and Moffat County atop the league standings. The teams would each be named co-league champions, but it would come down to a points tiebreaker to determine who would get the automatic bid into the 2A state playoffs.

“It’s a huge opportunity and it’s a huge thing if we can pull this out,” Frerichs said. “I think this is a huge game for the Basalt community. We would love to see the Basalt community come out here and cheer us on.”

Unlike the other two teams in the playoff mix, Basalt has more riding on today’s outcome than a league title and postseason berth. A league title combined with a top-16 RPI ranking — the Longhorns are No. 15 entering Friday’s finale — would put Basalt in position to host a first-round playoff game.

With the RPI position likely to hold, Basalt just needs to find a way past Roaring Fork (RPI No. 31) tonight and it will more than likely be playing at home in a week.

“That’s why this game is huge,” Frerichs said of today’s game with the Rams. “Any time it’s a rivalry game, you just never know. Their kids are going to come out ready. I know our kids will be super excited. I think turnovers and big plays are really going to be the difference in the game.”

Aspen looking toward promising offseason

The Aspen High School football team (2-6 overall, 1-3 WSL) won’t have any games remaining after today’s 7 p.m. regular-season finale at Moffat County (4-4 overall, 3-1 WSL) in Craig. With the playoffs out of reach, the game is a chance to send the Skiers into the offseason with a lot of momentum.

“It’s going to be a really great measuring stick for where we are at, at the end of the year,” first-year coach Karson Pike said. “I think that growth has been phenomenal, especially for a young team. The guys are really picking up on what we are trying to do and accomplish.”

The Skiers won their first league game last week, beating winless Steamboat Springs on senior day, 22-20. The win snapped a five-game losing streak, dating back to a Sept. 2 win at home against Arvada, 16-12.

Moffat is coming off a 20-8 loss at Basalt last week that will — barring any craziness — keep them out of the postseason after winning the league a year ago. The Bulldogs are No. 24 in RPI this week. Aspen is No. 36.

“They gained a lot of confidence last week against Steamboat,” Pike said. “We did a lot of things very well and some things that we still need to clean up. But it was great for them to taste victory.”

The Skiers are set to lose only one varsity senior. They will take the mantra “bigger, faster, stronger” into the offseason, where hitting the weight room will be seen as key to next year’s success.

“The growth has exceeded my expectations, and I’m excited to continue to develop that,” Pike said. “It’s extremely encouraging for us as a staff, and I’m excited to get into the offseason after (today) and really hit the weights hard and show these guys how much that will help them.”


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