Crushing defeat for Longhorns football at Meeker
Meeker trailed Basalt, 7-0, for 40 minutes Friday night. When the home team finally broke through, it wasn’t about to waste the opportunity – or the momentum. The Cowboys found the end zone with four minutes to play, pulling to within one. They weren’t content for the tie, however, and decided to go for two.The Longhorns defense, which thwarted multiple Meeker drives with key plays, couldn’t stop the quarterback option. Basalt’s final push to come from behind ended on a fumble with one minute remaining, and the Longhorns suffered a deflating 8-7 season-opening loss. “It’s the same story we talked about before, finishing all 48 minutes,” Basalt head coach Forrest Grosh said. “It rang true again tonight.”I thought we played well. This is a tough one to swallow.”The Longhorns, who also dropped last year’s opener to Meeker, in a 42-34 shootout, converted on a first-quarter drive to pull ahead. Tailback Dalton Jacobson took the handoff from quarterback Dillon Buck and rumbled five yards for the touchdown.The Cowboys responded with a sustained drive that included a conversion on a fourth-and-14. Basalt kept Meeker out of the end zone with the first of its two interceptions. “We bent a lot all game, and we gave more than we should have, but at the same time we kept them out of the end zone when it came down to it,” Grosh said. “They kept punching it down our throats with big, long third-down and fourth-down conversions. We stopped them inside the 20 several times.”The two teams went back and forth during the second and third quarters before Meeker finally converted in the red zone, pounding the ball in on a fourth-and-goal from the 1. The Cowboys then decided to go for the win. The decision didn’t surprise Grosh.”They didn’t want a tie ballgame. They had the momentum, they were on the 3, and they probably figured that, with four minutes left, they might not see the ball again,” Grosh said. “I was thinking about all the different scenarios, and I was hoping for the stop. Unfortunately we didn’t get it, but we had time and two timeouts left.”Basalt proceeded to drive into Meeker territory and, with one minute remaining, found itself 40 yards from the end zone. All hopes of a comeback were dashed, however, on an ensuing fumble. It was a familiar feeling for the Longhorns, who held leads against Roaring Fork and Olathe deep into last year’s games only to suffer defeats.”The guys are frustrated. They played their hearts out, and if we stop them, we’re having a different conversation right now,” Grosh said. “This isn’t the end of the world; it’s one game, and luckily it was nonleague. What we’re striving for is still attainable.”
David Stapleton is the development officer for the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club. A product of the club, AVSC sat down with Stapleton for a Q&A session in this week’s Clubhouse Chronicles.