Basalt football coach: We can compete for league title
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – You know you’re coaching 2A football when one of your offensive guards from 2011’s squad becomes this year’s quarterback.
Such is the situation facing Basalt head coach Carl Frerichs, whose talented but depth-challenged squad kicks off the season at 7 p.m. Friday against visiting Paonia.
“We’re paper thin,” Frerichs proclaimed Thursday evening. “We’re in the same boat as a lot of teams who have had seniors graduating and a lot of kids stepping into new positions, but it is my biggest concern.”
Questions abound for the Longhorns, who finished 6-4 last fall and narrowly missed out on a second consecutive postseason berth. Can they keep pace in a newly formed 2A Western Conference that features four 2011 playoff teams – Aspen, Olathe, Pagosa Springs and state runner-up Bayfield? Will a change to the zone read ignite an offense that has experienced its fair share of struggles?
And who will replace Zach Mobilian? The dynamic tailback, one of the top dual threats in the Western Slope last year, piled up nearly 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground – including three in an October blowout of Gunnison.
Jonny Madrano and Cody Banc will try and shoulder the backfield load this season. Basalt also is banking on contributions from Matt Williams, who is making the move from guard to signal caller.
The junior impressed during spring and summer practices, Frerichs said.
“We haven’t seen him in a game yet, but in terms of what we’ve seen in practice, we have confidence in his throwing and his abilities as a runner,” the coach added. “He’s also a 3.9 student, so he’s a really smart kid who has picked up the plays and knows what he’s supposed to be doing.
“(The zone read) seems easier for the kids to pick up, and they’re going against less people in the box. It fits the players we have, as well. … Figuring out a way to be more successful on offense is a major key to our season.”
Heading into the offseason, Frerichs figured protecting Williams and opening up holes for Madrano and Banc would be a struggle. Not anymore.
“We have a lot of kids from sophomores to juniors and juniors to seniors who have had growth spurts. We didn’t realize that heading into the spring scrimmage in Glenwood,” Frerichs said. “We have some big kids – I don’t really know what happened. I thought we were going to be the smallest team in 2A. Now, we might have the biggest offensive line in 2A.”
That size should also benefit a defense that allowed the fewest points in the league last fall.
The unit also will be buoyed by the presence of a healthy Fabian Martinez, who appears to have put a string of injuries behind him, Frerichs said.
“He was dealing with an ACL injury as a freshman and sophomore and last year was playing on one leg – and playing pretty well,” Frerichs said. “He’s 100 percent now, and he’s just a monster at 5-9 and 250 pounds.
“We have lots of kids who are aggressive and fly to the ball. Defense has been our strength the last several years, and it should carry us again.”
There is one certainty heading into tonight: Basalt will feature the top kicker in the conference – and likely the state. Bertilio Garcia earned that distinction last season, when he routinely launched kickoffs through end zones and wowed with his field-goal range. His 57-yarder against Olathe was the longest in Colorado regardless of classification and the third-best boot in the country.
The senior is a two-time All-State first-team selection.
“He’s a great weapon, and especially in zero week, having a kid who’s kicked and punted in the past is a huge factor,” Frerichs said. “It’s going to be exciting. I think that if this team can stay healthy, we’ll definitely compete for a league championship.”
To listen to Friday’s Basalt-Paonia game, tune to KMTS 99.1 FM or log on to http://www.kmts.com.
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