Eight Basalt football players nab postseason awards
BASALT ” The Western Slope is no longer the weakest half of the state when it comes to high school football in Colorado.
Olathe and Glenwood Springs made that abundantly clear Saturday when the two schools won respective titles in 2A and 3A.
While Olathe’s win came as a surprise to some observers around the state, Basalt coach Carl Frerichs wasn’t one of them. Frerichs said Olathe was the best team he has seen during his tenure at Basalt, where he started as a defensive coach six years ago before taking over the program earlier this year.
If there’s a silver lining to Basalt’s 4-6 season, it’s that the Longhorns were much more competitive in a 2A Western Slope that is no slouch when it comes to other leagues around the state.
The ultimate goal was to reach the playoffs, but Frerichs said there’s some consolation to be taken from the selection of four Basalt seniors to the conference’s first team. League coaches awarded four other Longhorns seniors with honorable mentions.
Basalt’s four first teamers ” Dylan Buck, Cody Kosinski, Taylor Niko-Foreman and Michael Miller ” were standouts on both sides of the ball.
Buck grew into a leader at quarterback as the season progressed and was a steady presence on defense at free safety, Frerichs said. A dual threat under center, Buck threw for just less than 500 yards and ran for nearly 350.
“He led us offensively and just had a good senior year,” Frerichs said. “We couldn’t have asked for anything more out of Buck.”
Kosinski was another player that really embraced his final season in a Basalt uniform, evidenced best by his decision to play the last game of the season against Gunnison despite being hampered by a sprained knee ligament. The senior scored the winning touchdown in that game and finished as Basalt’s leading rusher with 732 yards. Kosinski was also the second leading-tackler on the team from his linebacker spot.
Niko-Foreman was arguably the most physically gifted of Basalt’s four first-teamers, an imposing 6-foot-6 presence at defensive end and tight end. Frerichs said he will remember the senior for not only his athletic gifts but his positive attitude.
“Just another kid who led by example,” the coach said. “I don’t think anyone in our entire league is better than him at defensive end. In the Coal Ridge game, he forced one fumble and recovered two fumbles.”
Frerichs lamented the fact that Niko-Foreman didn’t get as many receptions on offense as he would have liked.
“We tried to get him involved, but we just had a hard time getting him the ball,” Frerichs said. “He was a great blocker and just a great all-around player.”
Miller, a middle linebacker and offensive tackle, led the Longhorns with 127 tackles. Frerichs called Miller the team’s emotional leader.
“His entire junior year, he had academic issues, so he only got to play in one game,” the coach said. “His senior year, he didn’t miss a game. He’s just a hard-nosed kid. He doesn’t talk a lot, but just the way he played, his emotion, he led by example.”
The four seniors who earned honorable mentions were tailback Dalton Jacobsen, defensive end/tight end Luke Diekman, receiver/cornerback Taylor Mills and offensive guard/defensive tackle Erik Olmedo.
Jacobsen had 682 yards rushing and was a player Frerichs said he felt should have been a first teamer.
Diekman was consistent at playing assignment football on defense and had one receiving touchdown on offense. Mills was a big-play threat who finished the season with an average of 37 yards a catch.
Frerichs singled out Olmedo for being one of the team’s hardest workers.
“He never missed a day in the weight room,” the coach said. “He was kind of the cornerstone of the offensive line all season.”
The eight seniors to win awards are among a class of 16 that Frerichs will have to fill in the holes for next season.
While this team struggled against the Slope’s three playoff teams, getting outscored by Olathe, Grand Valley and Aspen by a combined 137-35, Frerichs said he believes his program took a step forward this season.
“I would agree that it’s a more competitive league,” Frerichs said. “We had two games that we feel like we should have won. We feel like we should have been 6-4. But I don’t think you can look back. We doubled our win total from last year and we feel like the program’s going in the right direction.”
He added that his first class of seniors as a head coach will always remain special to him.
“The way they came to practice, the way they always worked hard, the way they always showed up to play, they will be missed,” he said.
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