Basalt football regroups after bye week, hosts Grand Valley on Friday

The Basalt High School football team talks after practice earlier this week in Basalt.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times |

The Rifle High School football team took Montrose to the final play in a 34-29 loss last week. Montrose only lost by a point in zero week to a Fruita Monument team ranked in the top 10 of Class 4A this week.

The point? Rifle again looks like an incredibly strong team and Basalt’s season-opening, zero week loss to the Bears isn’t something to worry about.

“We mentioned to them how good of a team Rifle is,” Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said. “The caliber of team that we just played is as good as it gets in the state of Colorado. I think that’s where our kids want to compete and they want to get to that level.”

The Longhorns (0-1) haven’t played since that 34-14 loss on Aug. 25 in Rifle. They had a bye week last week, giving them extra time to prepare for Friday’s 7 p.m. home opener against visiting Grand Valley at the BHS football field.

“We’ve had an incredible two weeks of practice, really. The bye week also kind of came at a good time so we could regroup after a tough Rifle game,” Basalt senior receiver/defensive back Griffen Jenkins said. “They are one of the best programs in the state. They just execute so well and hit hard. They are aggressive. It was good to have that extra week to recoup and also prepare for Grand Valley.”

The Longhorns said Rifle’s discipline and physicality is what set them apart two weeks ago. The Bears won the line of scrimmage and BHS made too many self-inflicted errors to stay competitive. While Basalt did return a lot of players from last year’s 7-3, league championship team, it also was breaking in plenty of other new players at key positions against Rifle, including quarterback and running back.

“We didn’t come off the ball. For me, that was a big reason why we lost that game,” Basalt senior lineman Tito Ramos said. “It’s never good to lose, but I feel like this last week of practice was awesome. Our focus was amazing. We’ve been hitting and getting off the ball quick.”

While Rifle brought with it a more old school power offense, Grand Valley comes to Basalt with something entirely different. The Cardinals (1-0) opened its season last week with a 49-14 win at Vail Christian, senior quarterback Jeff Holbrook throwing for 116 yards and rushing for 109 more in the team’s spread offense.

Grand Valley is ranked No. 10 in Class 1A this week by Basalt is receiving the second-most votes of non-ranked teams in Class 2A.

“We are stressed about them,” Frerichs said of Grand Valley. “With this whole RPI system, your overall record and how you do is gigantic. This game Friday night is a huge game for Basalt football. We love playing here and we love playing in front of our town and in front of our crowd. We are really excited.”

Basalt and Grand Valley played last year in Parachute, the Longhorns winning 49-7. And like last season, the Longhorns feel this game is extra important, especially considering they host Delta next week. The Panthers (0-1) are No. 6 in 2A this week and host Moffat County on Friday.

“It’s definitely the same,” Jenkins said of the team’s season goals. “We want to do as well as we can and win every game. That’s always the goal. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, but we just got to keep looking forward to our next game.”