Colbert’s Prep Playbook: Welcome back. How about we get this party started?
The calm before the storm? Yeah, that was last week when Aspen High School was out for experiential education. Starting this week and going through essentially Halloween, the prep sports season will come at us like a raging bull.
As we somewhat hit the restart button, let’s do a quick recap of some early-season highlights and what to look ahead to. What will certainly be on a lot of minds this week is the start of football season, with Basalt and Aspen both set to hit the field at the end of this week. So let’s start there.
FOOTBALL SEASON IS HERE
Basalt’s season starts Friday night at Class 1A Olathe. The Pirates opened their season last week against Basalt’s Class 2A Western Slope League foe Coal Ridge, with the Titans rolling to a 35-14 win. BHS hosted Olathe in the 2018 opener, winning 28-0. The Longhorns graduated a lot and will be breaking in a new quarterback and running back, so there is plenty of unknown. But the return of standout lineman Ernesto Lopez and receiver Jackson Rapaport should ease that transition. After Olathe, Basalt will host Battle Mountain in its home opener on Saturday, Sept. 14.
Aspen’s season starts this Saturday afternoon at home against Bayfield. This was a preseason top-10 matchup, although Bayfield dropped out of this week’s poll after losing 42-13 to San Juan (Utah) in its opener last week. Don’t look anything into that score, however. The Wolverines are a bona fide powerhouse and won the 2A state title as recently as 2017, beating Basalt 41-0 in the playoffs that season. Bayfield went 8-2 last year and came into the playoffs as the No. 1 seed before getting knocked off in the quarterfinals by No. 9 Faith Christian.
Despite not playing last week, the Skiers went from No. 9 to No. 7 in this week’s CHSAANow.com poll. Defending 2A WSL champ Rifle, which crushed Grand Valley in its opener last week, is No. 4, while Delta is a spot back at No. 5. Delta opens its season Friday night against Thornton.
Aspen and Bayfield on Saturday should be an incredible game and a great test for the Skiers, who will be playing on their new turf field for the first time. AHS went to Bayfield last year, losing 20-8 in what was a surprisingly close game. Aspen has a legitimate chance to finish ahead on the scoreboard this time, but will need to play a tremendous game against one of the most well-coached and physical teams in the state.
ASPEN GOLF AT HOME
While football season is just starting, golf can already see the finish line. The Skiers host their home tournament Tuesday at Aspen Golf Club and look to be fielding their full team for the first time this season. We have yet to see their top two players, brothers Jack and Nic Pevny, on course at the same time this fall. This tournament is simply a tune-up for regionals, which Aspen will host in three weeks. The Skiers are of course the defending 3A state champions and will look to repeat Oct. 7 and 8 at the state tournament in Colorado Springs.
OTHER NOTABLES THIS WEEK
Basalt boys soccer (1-1) travels to WSL foe Coal Ridge (0-0) on Tuesday for a non-league game. The Longhorns will try and bounce back after a 4-0 loss to current No. 4 Roaring Fork on Friday. Aspen (0-1), which lost to BHS in its opener a few weeks back, remains in the midst of a long break. The Skiers don’t play again until Sept. 14 when they go to Monarch.
The rest of the week remains relatively quiet. Both Basalt and Aspen softball teams have home games on Saturday, as well. The Longhorns are off to a hot start at 4-0 with wins over Cedaredge (12-1), Montrose (9-1), The Academy (5-2) and Alamosa (16-1). They were leading Conifer 3-1 in the third inning of the championship game of the Sheridan tournament on Saturday before an electrical issue led to them having no lights and the game was postponed. They hope to reschedule.
Basalt volleyball opened its season over the weekend in Thornton, going 1-3 in a tournament. BHS lost 2-0 to Golden, Palmer and Denver North, but did beat Thornton 2-0 (25-6, 25-10) to get that first win. The Longhorns will host Moffat next week in their home opener. Aspen volleyball doesn’t play until Sept. 12.
Anyway, that’s the crux of things. With Ex-Ed being so early, it’s been a somewhat slow and awkward start to the season, but that season is certainly here now. Let’s play.
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With 5,000-square feet of turf, Elite Performance Academy will cater primarily to lacrosse and soccer at the start, but with hopes of expanding to other sports in the future.