Basalt football back in playoffs, faces D’Evelyn in first round
Basalt High School football coach Carl Frerichs expects the Longhorns to have a size disadvantage against visiting D’Evelyn on Saturday in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs. However, being smaller doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be less physical.
“We are smaller than them, but I do feel our kids are really aggressive kids,” Frerichs said. “Just from the film we have, they do look big. It will be interesting in terms of the physicality of the game. I think my team is extremely physical, and I think they might be a little surprised, even though we are small, how hard our kids bring it.”
Basalt (7-2 overall) is the No. 8 seed in the 2A tournament, and will be the home team for Saturday’s 1 p.m. game thanks to an undefeated record in league play. D’Evelyn, located in southwest Denver, is seeded No. 9 and also enters the postseason with a 7-2 record. The Jaguars finished second in their league.
D’Evelyn, a frequent postseason participant, is hardly in uncharted territory. On the other hand, Basalt is in the playoffs for only the third time in nine seasons under Frerichs. When the Longhorns made the playoffs in 2010 — a 40-21 first-round loss at Faith Christian — it was their first postseason appearance in 27 years.
Basalt made the playoffs again in 2012, losing 38-7 at Florence in the first round. Four years later, the Longhorns are back in the postseason, but this time as league champions, a first since sharing a title in 1984.
“It’s crazy. I don’t think I’ve completely taken it in, to be totally honest,” said BHS sophomore fullback Colin Hipona. “It’s amazing. It’s a great opportunity. I’m so glad we actually ended up being league champs. We always knew we could do it.”
The Longhorns will have their hands full Saturday against the Jaguars. A notoriously prolific passing offense under 12th-year head coach Jeremy Bennett, D’Evelyn has found surprising success on the ground this season behind senior running back Kyle Klataske.
According to MaxPreps, Klataske ranks fifth in 2A with 1,026 rushing yards (Delta’s Damon Jensen is first with 1,538 yards), and he rushed for 1,005 of those yards in only six games. His season best performance came in a 42-7 win at Middle Park on Oct. 21, Klataske rushing for 371 yards and four touchdowns.
Basalt has collectively rushed for 2,021 yards this season, led by the 767 of junior Alex Alberto.
“We want to be balanced. I think you have to be balanced against a well-coached team like Basalt. They are really sound in what they do,” Bennett said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “We’ve been playing all year with four, five, six starters out in every game. This will be the first game in probably seven weeks that we’ve had everybody. So we are excited about that.”
D’Evelyn’s best season in recent memory came in 2008, when it made it to the Class 3A state semifinals. After a few second-round exits in the following few years, the Jaguars have mostly been a one-and-done playoff team since.
“We feel pretty good about our chances at making a deep run this year,” Bennett said. “We are going to get after (Basalt). But they are good, so we are going to have to play our best to get a win.”
Frerichs wants his team to continue what it’s been doing throughout league play, which is make big plays on offense and dominate the line of scrimmage. Defensively, the Longhorns plan to key on Klataske, but they also understand the dangers of falling asleep against D’Evelyn’s vaunted pass offense.
“I feel like we are ready. The mindset of these two games has helped us a lot,” Basalt junior Raul Torres said of wins over Moffat County and Roaring Fork to finish the regular season. “I think that we should come out hitting strong, being aggressive, and we should do pretty good against this team. Also, having to host playoffs is pretty cool.”
The winner of Saturday’s first-round game would play the winner of No. 1 seed La Junta and No. 16 seed University in the state quarterfinals the following week.
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