Banged-up Basalt falls to Cardinals
Basalt senior quarterback Tucker Hinchliffe looked in the backfield and saw his starting tailback lined up at fullback. He looked left, then right, and saw two backup receivers lining up where his trusted classmates Rory Johnson and Chris Fitzgerald usually would be.With four starters missing on offense, the Longhorns struggled to start anything on a soggy Friday night at Grand Valley, losing 37-6.Basalt’s highlight – a 60-yard touchdown run by Hinchliffe in the first half – was called back because of a holding call. The penalty sent the Longhorns to the locker room at the half down 14-0 instead of within a touchdown. Basalt running back Willie Klein was also was stuffed on a fourth-and-goal run that kept the Longhorns out of the end zone.”We played really well the first half,” Basalt coach Forrest Grosh said. “They were only up 6-0 when Tucker had his touchdown run and it was a questionable holding call. That deflated us a little bit.”In the third quarter, Klein took off for a 20-yard touchdown run to give Basalt its only points of the game. Four missing starters, however, was just too much to overcome, Grosh said.Klein switched from fullback to tailback to fill in for senior teammates Colin Matheny and Tony DiBacco, neither of whom played Friday night. Matt Schuler also saw some time in the backfield.Matheny sat out because of a deep thigh bruise, while DiBacco missed the game to attend to a family matter.Johnson suited up but played only one snap; the senior is still nursing a shoulder injury he suffered during Basalt’s home loss to Meeker last week. Fitzgerald was out with a neck injury he suffered during practice Wednesday.Johnson and Matheny could be back as early as next week, while Fitzgerald is likely to miss a couple of weeks, Grosh said. Johnson and Fitzgerald both also start in the defensive secondary, and they were sorely missed Friday. Grand Valley had success running the football with senior Danny Manzaneres – who shredded Aspen’s defense the week before – and in the passing game.”We went into the game missing three of our five captains,” Grosh said. “But you also want to give credit to Grand Valley. They played a good game.”The loss sets up a huge game in Basalt on Friday, when the Skiers travel downvalley for the annual grudge match. The Cardinals shut out the Skiers, 24-0, in their home opener and stuffed Aspen, like the Longhorns, on a fourth and goal.The Skiers had a bye week after the loss, giving them two full weeks to prepare for the Longhorns.”I think we match up pretty well against Aspen,” Grosh said. “It’s going to be a hard-fought battle. I think our guys, we definitely didn’t expect to start off 0-2. We’re hungry for a win.”Hinchliffe threw one interception in the loss, and Klein lost one fumble. Schuler, who also started at safety, picked off Cardinals quarterback Richard Gallegos in the second half.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Aspen Mountain opened for the season on Wednesday, a day earlier than originally planned. Top-to-bottom snowmaking, a solid recent storm and well-behaved guests made for a great experience despite all of the extra precautions.