Basalt football easily handles rival Aspen on senior night, awaits playoff brackets
The Basalt High School football team made it eight straight wins over its upvalley rival on Friday night with a 49-21 senior night win over Aspen on the BHS field.
It was the final game of the regular season for both teams, with the Longhorns now advancing to next week’s postseason, while the Skiers will be left watching.
“I did not expect that at all,” Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said of holding the Skiers’ offense at bay. “I had myself convinced that they were going to score left and right. Really, really proud of the kids. Most importantly, really excited that my kids get to have seven more days of football.”
The game was never all that close, with the Longhorns gaining the necessary 40-point lead early in the third quarter to start the running clock after leading 35-0 at halftime. All of Aspen’s points came late with the outcome already long settled.
Basalt got the early onslaught going when senior Gavin Webb broke free for a 20-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead not even four minutes into the game. An AHS punt led to a 10-yard pass and catch from Basalt junior quarterback Kade Schneider to do-it-all senior Sam Sherry for a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter.
Only seven seconds later, Basalt junior Cooper Crawford intercepted an Aspen pass — from his defensive end spot — on the first play of that next possession and returned it for a roughly 20-yard pick-6 and it was 21-0 Longhorns after a quarter.
Crawford also scored on a 10-yard TD run later in the second quarter, and Schneider connected with junior tight end Ben Limongelli to make it 35-0 right before the halftime break.
Photos: Aspen football at Basalt
“That is a really good offense that has put up a lot of points on some really good defenses, so that is not what I expected in the first half,” Frerichs said, referring to the usually electric AHS offense. “My secondary did a really good job watching film and knowing their routes and I think they did a good job jumping on those things. It’s credit to my kids, more than anything, just playing really hard and really wanting to play well.”
Crawford scored once more early in the third quarter, an 84-yard screen play from Schneider making it 42-0 and the remainder of the game was played with a running clock.
Aspen got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter when Braden Korpela caught the first of his two touchdown catches to make it 42-7.
Webb responded early in the fourth quarter with a 73-yard touchdown run and a 49-7 BHS lead, but Aspen tossed two more late scores, another to Korpela and one to Brady Haisfield for the final points.
Aspen, which was unlikely to make the playoffs even with a win, finishes the season with a 3-6 overall record and is all but guaranteed to miss the postseason.
No. 10-ranked Basalt improved to 7-2 overall and now awaits the announcement of the Class 2A state playoff bracket, which Frerichs expects will come out Sunday. Based on RPI, the Longhorns will likely be somewhere in the 7-10 range in terms of seeding in the 16-team tournament.
The top eight seeds will host a first-round game, although a quirky rule that attempts to keep teams from traveling back-to-back weeks in the playoffs means that being on the road to open the playoffs is not necessarily a bad thing.
“I told the kids, on the road or at home, most importantly you’re in and even more importantly that we get seven more days of high school football together,” Frerichs said. “If we do go on the road and we are able to pull out a victory, that’s why we don’t really look at it as a negative if we end up on the road because that means you have a high chance of playing at home in the second round.”
Also Friday in the 2A Western Slope League, Delta beat Rifle, 35-7, to finish 8-1 and a perfect 5-0 in WSL play. The Panthers should certainly host a first-round game, while the Bears (3-6) — who are the defending spring state champions — are likely to miss the postseason.
The other game Friday was Moffat County’s 51-0 win over Coal Ridge. The Titans finish the season 0-9 overall, while the Bulldogs move to 8-1 overall and like Delta should get a first-round home playoff game.
The Aspen High School football team closed out non-league play on Friday night with a 34-21 loss at Steamboat Springs. All of the Skiers’ points came late with the game well out of reach.
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