Basalt football wins again; Aspen to playoffs
The Aspen Times
The Basalt High School football team is saving the best for last.
The Longhorns won their second consecutive game — and second game of the season — with a methodical 28-6 victory Friday night over Coal Ridge at New Castle.
Basalt’s Oswaldo Olmedo ran for one touchdown.
Teammate Cody Banc ran for two touchdowns and threw a halfback pass to Mark Barto for another Basalt score.
“I was really proud of the kids,” Basalt head coach Carl Frerichs said. “We were up 13-0 at the half … 21-0 going into the fourth quarter.”
The Longhorns scored once in each quarter, leading 28-0 before winless Coal Ridge scored.
“Our defense played really well again,” Frerichs said. “We bent, but we didn’t break. The defense got some turnovers when we really needed them.”
Last week, the Longhorns broke into the win column with a big 52-21 victory over Grand Valley.
With two consecutive wins, the Basalt coach said the Longhorns are looking forward to next Friday’s game at Aspen — the upper valley’s big rivalry football game.
Frerichs also said he wished the season had a second round of games, like basketball, because the revamped Longhorns are played well now. He credited wholesale changes in the lineup on offense that helped the players stay fresh into the second half.
In turn, he said, the defense is fresher for the whole game as well.
“Anytime we play Aspen, you can throw the scores out the window. It won’t quite be like last year, when the winner was guaranteed an automatic playoff berth. But it will be a huge opportunity for our kids,” Frerichs said.
This year, the Skiers clinched third place in the Western League and the conference’s final guaranteed playoff spot with a 36-26 victory at Grand Valley on Friday night. Combined with Bayfield’s 21-20 loss to Olathe, the Skiers earned their seventh consecutive playoff berth under head coach Mike Sirko.
A year ago, Basalt beat Aspen in a 6-3 defensive thriller that gave the Longhorns the guaranteed playoff spot. Aspen advanced as a Class 2A wild card last season.
This year, the Skiers (4-2 in the Western League, 5-3 overall) will move into the playoffs as the third seed from the conference behind Olathe and Gunnison.
Those two teams will play Friday night in Gunnison for the league title and the top state berth.
The Longhorns will head to Aspen on Friday night with a 2-4 league record, 2-6 overall.
But both wins came in the last two weeks for a Basalt team that will take on a state playoff team under the Friday night lights in Aspen.
In other Western League games Friday, Grand Valley (1-5, 1-7) will play at Coal Ridge (0-6, 0-8) in the I-70 rivalry game. And Pagosa Springs (2-4, 2-6) will play at Bayfield (3-3, 4-4) in a rivalry game of former Intermountain League teams.
Last weekend, all four Western League road teams won — Aspen, Basalt, Olathe and Gunnison.
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If all goes according to plan, graduation will serve as a grand opening of sorts for the school’s newest addition, a state-of-the-art videoboard and sound system for the football field.