Basalt football finds motivation from injured senior Ian Lumsden |

Basalt football finds motivation from injured senior Ian Lumsden

Basalt High School senior Ian Lumsden.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times |

The Basalt High School football team found a heart this season, and he wears No. 4.

“It definitely has been rough. I know he’s not having too great of a time watching us,” Basalt senior quarterback Miles Levy said. “But he knows every game we play, we play our hardest. We play with our heart. We spell heart: H-E-4-R-T.”

The No. 4 jersey is worn by Basalt senior Ian Lumsden, a team captain and three-year starter for the Longhorns. Lumsden, a running back and linebacker, hasn’t played since suffering an injury in the first quarter at Delta on Sept. 16, the third game of the season.

It would be a few days before Lumsden found out the extent of his injury. He badly damaged his right knee, including a complete tear of his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), an injury that required surgery and put an end to his football season.

“Every kid has a No. 4 on their helmet, remembering when they get tired out there and beat up, that No. 4 is on our sideline because he can’t play,” Basalt football coach Carl Frerichs said. “It’s that motivation of realizing they need to give it everything they have because they know if Ian was out there, he’d be giving it everything he has.”

Offensively, Lumsden was a rock star for the Longhorns in their first two games. In the season opener at home against Rifle — a 48-34 loss — Lumsden rushed for 98 yards on 17 carries. Two weeks later in a 49-7 win at Grand Valley, Lumsden carried the team with 149 yards, again on 17 carries.

In the third game against Delta — a 42-7 loss — Lumsden played in 11 snaps and had only two carries. The second carry went for about 17 yards and ended when Lumsden’s knee gave away while trying to plant his foot and avoid a tackle.

“Honestly, I didn’t think it was torn. I sat out a day or two of practice. If I didn’t go see a doctor, I would have come to practice the next day,” Lumsden said. “I’m not just going to walk away, because this is my team and I love the coaches. All of these guys are my best friends. I couldn’t walk away. I came to every practice, up until my surgery.”

The thing about Lumsden, who was also Basalt’s defensive play caller, is that he is a team player. He started on the offensive line as a sophomore, mostly because the team needed him to. He moved to running back as a junior and led the Longhorns with 526 rushing yards to go with a team high 73 tackles at linebacker.

He finished this season with 263 yards on 36 carries (7.3 yards per carry) and had 10 tackles in less than nine quarters.

“He’s probably one of the best defensive players I’ve ever played with. He just loves the game so much,” Levy said. “He just wants to be a part of it and he knows he can’t be out on the field with us, so he tries to be there for us. If we are having a bad day or a bad practice, he is always there to pump you up. He is always in the middle of a win or a loss.”

Lumsden said the only thing he can compare his injury to was when he was diagnosed with diabetes in the seventh grade. He admitted he went through a bit of a denial phase, and finding acceptance has been difficult. The injury also will cost him the basketball season, and leaves his track and field campaign in doubt.

“The injury was kind of easier for me because I’ve already had my life changed dramatically once, and this to me is just kind of temporary,” Lumsden said. “The hardest part for me is I look at Miles, Kyle (Roberts) and Cullen (White), and realize I’m never going to suit up with them and play again with them. The acceptance came, but it didn’t get easy. I miss it every day. I want to go put on my pads but I can’t. That’s the hardest part.”

When Basalt hosts D’Evelyn on Saturday in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs, Lumsden will continue to remain absent from the stat sheet. But, like he has since his injury, he’ll remain a factor in whatever way he can. That may come as a cheerleader, or it could come as a coach and mentor to his replacements — notably junior Alex Alberto and sophomore Colin Hipona in the backfield — although he admits they’ve done exceptionally well filling in for him.

Lumsden hopes his football career isn’t over. He wants to walk on to a college program somewhere, and at almost 6-feet tall and 195 pounds with his speed, he might get that chance. Until that happens, Lumsden will remain the heart of the team and do whatever he can to make sure the Longhorns’ season extends beyond this weekend.

“I would not say it would be easy to walk away and call it quits. I’ve been playing football since I was in fourth grade,” Lumsden said. “I’m definitely going to be on the sidelines. I’m not going to miss this for the world. I’m excited for it. I know these guys are.”

Saturday’s playoff game has a 1 p.m. kickoff in Basalt.

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