Basalt, Aspen High School football teams wrap up spring camps
Basalt High School senior-to-be Oswaldo Morales joyfully put the Longhorn football team’s first league title in more than three decades behind him. After all, it’s difficult to move on to the next one while dwelling on what’s already happened.
“It was nice and it was sweet, but at the same time it was in the past,” Morales said. “We are looking on to bigger and greater things this year. We are expecting a lot more from ourselves.”
The Longhorns finished 7-3 overall last fall en route to a 5-0 league record and outright Class 2A Western Slope League title. The season ended with a 27-20 loss to D’Evelyn in the first round of the state playoffs.
The 2017 season already is underway, at least as far as preparation goes. The Longhorns recently completed their spring camp, which included a team scrimmage last week under the lights in Basalt. The next few months are about voluntary weights and 7-on-7 drills leading to the start of fall practice on Aug. 14.
“It feels amazing,” Basalt senior-to-be Tito Ramos said of being back on the football field this spring. “At first it’s a little tough because we haven’t played football in a long time. It’s just hard to get back into it.”
While the Longhorns will carry the target of being the defending league champions into the fall, their other burden will be replacing a strong senior class from last season. Gone are quarterback Miles Levy and receiver Kyle Roberts, who signed with Western State University. Cullen White, who was voted the league’s top lineman, has graduated, as has Ian Lumsden. Not to mention the team lost running back Alex Alberto, who stepped in for Lumsden at running back and proved to be one of the best backs in the league, to transfer.
“The first two practices it was really weird without Miles leading us through warm-ups,” Basalt senior-to-be Thomas Wirth said. “But our senior class has really stepped up and started taking over the leadership roles.”
Despite the losses, BHS coach Carl Frerichs is excited about having a strong group of seniors again this season. Morales, Ramos and Wirth will be the heart of an experienced offensive line, which looks to clear holes for senior transfer Noah Williams at running back and junior Trevor Reuss at quarterback.
“We return seven starters on both sides of the ball, so we are excited,” Frerichs said. “I’m really excited with where we are up front right now. I feel like our offensive line really knows what they’re doing.”
Basalt, which looks to again be among the league favorites alongside Moffat County, opens its season Aug. 25 at Rifle.
Skiers enter Year 2 under Pike
The Aspen High School football team finds itself in a much different position than its downvalley rivals. The Skiers went 2-7 in its first season under coach Karson Pike, burdened by learning a new system and having only one senior — James Kistner — on the varsity roster.
But with a significant head start on last fall’s team, the second season under Pike already has far less hurdles to deal with.
“We are light years ahead of where we were last year at this time,” Pike said. “Offensively they knew what was going on coming in to spring ball, so that certainly helps you progress. It seems a lot easier now.”
The Skiers concluded their spring practices last week with a team camp at Western State in Gunnison. AHS was one of about 10 teams participating, most coming from larger classifications.
“We had to play above our heads at times,” Pike said. “We had to battle a lot of adversity and we really saw that group of guys come together and start being great leaders toward each other. We put together some really good scrimmages and I think we left with a lot of confidence.”
Pike said the team’s spring motto has become “Armor up,” referring to the players needing to physically get their bodies in shape for the fall. The Skiers open the season Aug. 25 at home against Middle Park.
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