Basalt gridders blast Coal Ridge |

Basalt gridders blast Coal Ridge

Jon Maletz

Homecoming football game wins have been tough to come by in Basalt. Friday, the Longhorns made it look academic. Led by junior Willy Klein’s four sacks and senior tailback Tony DiBacco’s four touchdowns, Basalt dominated on both sides of the ball in a 47-0 victory over Coal Ridge. The win was just Basalt’s second homecoming victory in 15 years. “Obviously, Coal Ridge is a young team and we took that into consideration, but this was a big win,” Basalt head coach Forrest Grosh said Tuesday. “This is a good moral boost for the school population and this town. When you put 40-plus points on the board, it feels good every time.”Basalt (3-3 overall, 3-1 3A Western Slope) led the charge from the opening kickoff. The first two plays from scrimmage went for more than 10 yards. Senior tailback Tony DiBacco capped the drive when he took the toss from quarterback Tucker Hinchliffe on a sweep and rumbled 30 yards into the end zone. DiBacco, who rushed for a team-high 178 yards and three touchdowns, made his lone reception later in the game count. He caught a screen pass and followed his blockers 40 yards for the score. “It was a great call that we got off just in time,” Grosh said. “The offensive lineman got out in front and the receivers were blocking downfield. Tony did the rest.”The Longhorns jumped out to a 20-0 lead after 12 minutes. After its defense held the Titans on their first possession, Basalt capitalized. Senior wideout Chris Fitzgerald caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Hinchliffe. Basalt fullback Klein stretched the lead when he plowed through the Coal Ridge defense for short touchdown run. In addition to his dominance on defense, Klein found the end zone twice. The Longhorns, who put up 40 or more points for a second straight contest, did not punt once. They beat Cedaredge, 40-20, on Sept. 29.”The offensive line is starting to jell, and we have a great group of skill players,” Grosh said. “We’re getting to that point where we’re getting better and better each week. This should give us some confidence heading into our last three games.”Basalt, tied with Roaring Fork and Gunnison for second in the conference, finishes the season with a grueling three-game stretch. It hosts undefeated Olathe (6-0, 4-0) Friday, before closing out the season at Roaring Fork and Hotchkiss.”They’re all tough opponents, but I feel like we match up with those guys,” Grosh said. “If we take care of business, we’ll get our foot in the door.”Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is

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