Basalt football runs over Cedaredge, wins second straight
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – Fullback Chantri West burst through a gaping hole in the Cedaredge defense, bounced outside and rumbled 33 yards on Basalt’s first offensive play Friday night.
The Longhorns were off and running. Basalt ball carriers piled up 184 yards on the ground during a first half in which the Longhorns erased an early seven-point deficit with three scoring runs – two from sophomore Zach Mobilian. Quarterback Corey Ostrander scored from 1 yard out in the fourth quarter, and Basalt’s defense flustered Bruins signal caller Chaunce Lindley all night en route to a 27-13 win – the Longhorns’ second in as many weeks.
“I’m proud of how we stepped up our play and have started playing like a family,” Mobilian said. “Definitely, all around, this was our best offensive performance.”
Basalt (4-4) sputtered on offense during the season’s first four games, scoring just 21 points. The early difficulties largely could be attributed to a youthful squad and inexperienced front line attempting to grasp the team’s schemes, head coach Carl Frerichs said.
“We’re probably one of the youngest teams in the league. We start five sophomores, many of which play on the line,” Frerichs said. “We pull a lot, so they had to figure out who to block and where they were going. … They’re getting experience.”
It is paying off. The Longhorns put up 20 or more points in back-to-back games against Roaring Fork and Coal Ridge on Oct. 9 and 14.
Friday, they took another positive step.
Five different players had carries on an opening offensive possession in which Basalt covered 64 yards in just six plays. Mobilian capped the drive with a 4-yard run off tackle to square the game at seven with 2 minutes, 38 seconds left in the first quarter.
After Mobilian picked off Lindley on the ensuing Cedaredge possession, the Longhorns went back to work. West, Mobilian and Sean Chenoweth picked up runs of 10 or more yards during a nine-play, 58 yard drive. Junior Erick Enriquez punched the ball in on a 6-yard counter and Basalt took a 14-7 lead.
With 3:48 left in the half, Mobilian took a hand-off and followed West through the left side of the Bruins’ defense for a 6-yard score.
“This game was all about the offensive line out there,” Mobilian said. “Those holes were monsters. You could drive a truck through them.”
The Longhorns’ defense shined, too – after a less than auspicious start. Cedaredge opened the game with a 16-play, 79-yard drive that chewed up nearly seven minutes. Wide receiver T.K. Ullery hauled in an 8-yard pass from Lindley near the left pylon to put the Bruins on the board. (Earlier in the drive, Cade Sweeney was tackled short of the first-down marker on a fake punt, but Cedaredge maintained possession after a holding call on Basalt.)
The Longhorns’ defense stood tall from there, forcing the Bruins (2-6) to punt on their final four first-half possessions.
That trend continued on Cedaredge’s first two possessions of the second half. The Bruins opted to go for it on fourth and inches from the Basalt 45 the next time they had the ball, but shifty running back Nolan Kissner was stuffed at the line.
Kissner, shadowed by linebacker West for much of the game, found little space with which to maneuver. Lindley faced similar struggles, as he was met by defenders nearly every time he rolled out of the pocket.
The Bruins punted four times and turned the ball over twice in seven second-half possessions. They did manage to find the end zone with 1:54 remaining in the fourth when, after the Bruins took over at the Basalt 17 following a long punt return, Lindley fired an 8-yard strike to Sweeney near the back line to cut the deficit the 14.
Mobilian fumbled on the ensuing Longhorns possession – one of three Basalt turnovers in the second half – but Cedaredge ran out of time.
Ostrander kneeled twice in the final seconds to run out the clock and preserve the victory – one that moved the Longhorns to .500 for the first time since Sept. 25.
The momentum could be short-lived. Basalt visits defending 2A state champion Olathe next Friday.
“We have nothing to lose,” Frerichs said with a wry smile. “Olathe is Olathe. Everyone knows who they are. We’re going to show up and try our best.”
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