Basalt football shuts down Battle Mountain, moves to 2-0 on season
Carl Frerichs was worried about his defense coming into the season, considering it lost so much talent. Maybe not worried, but very much aware of the physical skill sets that graduated and needed to be replaced.
Then came Saturday afternoon when the Basalt High School football coach watched the Longhorns physically dominate visiting Battle Mountain to the tune of a 28-0 win on the BHS field, and nothing seemed all that out of place.
“We lost a lot of good hitters. We lost all of our linebackers, our D-ends — I have one D-end that I moved inside — so I’m really proud of the kids for flying around and they are just playing aggressive football,” Frerichs said. “If they do their jobs we expect good things out of them and they are doing assignment football where good things are happening.”
As it’s been for a few years now, Basalt’s defense was its strength last season, recording five shutouts and holding three others to single digits en route to a 9-2 season and trip to the Class 2A state quarterfinals.
On paper, Saturday’s matchup with the Huskies looked like it would make for a competitive game. Class 3A Battle Mountain entered the game 2-0 with wins over Middle Park (27-23) and Alameda (49-0), but Basalt didn’t let them become much of a factor in the Longhorns’ home opener.
After trading a few early punts, Basalt took a 7-0 lead on a short touchdown run by sophomore Gavin Webb. The halftime score was 14-0 after another short TD run, this time by sophomore Cole Dombrowski in the second quarter.
The second half remained a heavy dose of running the ball and a stifling defense for the Longhorns. Junior quarterback Matty Gillis capped off the first drive of the half with a 1-yard TD run, while Dombrowski scored his second touchdown when he broke loose for a score in the fourth quarter.
“Cole Dombrowski, our running back, ran extremely hard today. I think there was a huge growth from Game 1 to Game 2,” Frerichs said. “The offensive line is coming together. I just feel like both our fullbacks, Gavin and Peter Zimmer, are running really hard. Again, I’m really proud of Matty — zero turnovers. I just think that’s gigantic when he’s getting zero turnovers in those games.”
Dombrowski led the way with 78 yards and two scores on 22 carries. Webb had 45 yards rushing and a score on 10 carries. Gillis was 8 of 18 passing for 108 yards, with senior receiver Jackson Rapaport catching six of those passes for 80 yards.
Battle Mountain’s best drive came late in the third quarter down 21-0 when it was stopped on fourth-and-short at Basalt’s 15-yard-line.
Sophomore Sam Sherry was credited with 12 total tackles (seven solo), while Rapaport and senior Ernesto Lopez had a sack each.
“Penalties are one thing we definitely need to work on. Our kids are definitely playing hard, though,” Frerichs said. “So we’ll look at film and see exactly what it is. But not too disappointed. But against better teams we definitely got to clean it up.”
Battle Mountain (2-1) heads to Moffat County next week, one of Basalt’s 2A Western Slope League foes. The Longhorns (2-0), who beat Olathe 29-7 in their season opener, will travel to Pagosa Springs on Friday. Pagosa is 1-2 after beating Centauri on Friday, 28-20. The Pirates have losses to Durango (47-0) and La Junta (19-7), the defending 2A state champion.
“They are going to be tough,” Frerichs said of Pagosa. “They run the triple option. Truthfully, we are really excited about this win and we’ll start thinking about Pagosa (Saturday night) and (Sunday).”
Aspen played on Friday, losing 42-20 to Meeker to fall to 0-2 overall. The Skiers next play Friday night at Class 1A Cedaredge (1-1).
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Those opting for the spring, like Aspen and Basalt, will begin football practice Feb. 25 and start playing games March 11.