Explosive Platte Valley too much for Basalt football in 2A quarterfinals
(9)Faith Christian 21, (1)Bayfield 13
(4)La Junta 20, (5)Salida 0
(6)Platte Valley 46, (3)Basalt 9
(2)Resurrection Christian 21, (7)Rifle 14
From the start, Troy Hoffman decided to be more aggressive than usual. The Platte Valley football coach wanted that first possession, and he wanted to make a statement in Saturday’s Class 2A state quarterfinal game at Basalt.
“Normally we do things at the beginning different — we defer. But I wanted the ball,” Hoffman said.
“Basalt, that is a good team. That is a very defensive-minded team. So I knew that if we could get them on their heels and get the big play right off the bat, it kind of sets the tone.”
The No. 6-seeded Broncos have one of the better offenses in all of 2A, and it took all of one play to prove it Saturday en route to a 46-9 demolition of the No. 3-seeded Longhorns on the BHS field.
On the first play from scrimmage after a short kickoff return, Platte Valley senior running back Ernesto Rios — listed at a modest 6-foot-2, 200 pounds — took the ball to the house to give the Broncos a 7-0 lead only 19 seconds into the game.
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Basalt’s first possession ended with a short Chace Maytham field goal, but Platte Valley answered with two more Rios runs on their second possession, the second of which ended in another touchdown. It only took the Broncos three offensive plays to build a 14-3 lead midway through the first quarter.
“We ran into a really good team, but we had our opportunities in the first half and we didn’t capitalize,” Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said. “We knew getting into it they were going to be physical up front. We needed to do a better job of shutting off blocks and getting off blocks. But I thought as the game went on we started to get more aggressive.”
The game settled down for a while from there, with Platte Valley leading 17-3 at halftime thanks to a short field goal with only three seconds to play in the second quarter.
Basalt did indeed have its opportunities, including when it followed an interception of Platte Valley quarterback Trevon Wehrman with a long drive, only to fumble the ball inside the Broncos’ 10-yard line. The Longhorns had the ball down to the 1-yard line on that drive before a false start pushed them back.
“We knew they were going to try and change part of what our inside game was, so we made a few adjustments there,” Hoffman said of his team’s halftime strategy. “That gave more options for our quarterback. Trevon Wehrman has been a three-year starter for us. I would take him over any quarterback in the state, no matter what level. We gave him the option to do things, and he took advantage of that.”
An electric dual-threat quarterback who had more than 800 yards rushing entering Saturday’s game, Wehrman mostly leaned on Rios to do the heavy lifting against Basalt. However, the senior signal-caller made plenty of plays, including a short touchdown run to open the third quarter after a BHS punt, the successful 2-point conversion making it 25-3 Platte Valley.
The Broncos outscored BHS 22-0 in the third quarter, also getting a 20-yard TD run from Josh Yancey and a 50-yard run from Rios that made it 39-3 going into the fourth quarter. Nate Bettencourt scored on a short run with five minutes to go, prompting a running clock after the Broncos took a 46-3 lead.
“In the second half, we kind of wore out of gas and they took control and hats off to them,” Frerichs said. “They have a great coaching staff and they have a great team over there.”
Basalt senior quarterback Trevor Reuss finished his high school career with a short touchdown pass to junior Jackson Rapaport nearly as time was about to expire for the Longhorns’ lone touchdown of the game. Reuss finished 13 of 22 passing for 182 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while Rapaport had nine of those catches for 132 yards and the TD.
The big story were the injuries for Basalt. On top of losing two key linemen, including senior captain Jake Reuss because of a leg injury, BHS did not have senior running back Jake Reardon in the second half after he hurt his shoulder on the final play of the first half. Reardon rushed 15 times for 101 yards in the first half to finish the year with more than 1,500 yards on the ground, second in 2A.
Basalt finishes the season 9-2 overall for the second straight year. The Longhorns also lost in the state quarterfinals last fall.
“I had an extremely amazing senior class. I want to give a thank you to my seniors and their families. My coaching staff, I thought they did an awesome job,” Frerichs said. “I’m proud of my kids that stepped up. They did a great job. It is hard, though, when you lose a 1,500-yard rusher and a kid who is probably one of the best linemen in 2A.”
Platte Valley, which remains perfect at 11-0 overall, will face No. 2 seed Resurrection Christian next week in the state semifinals. The Cougars beat No. 7 seed Rifle in the quarterfinals on Saturday, 21-14. In the other half of the bracket, No. 9 seed Faith Christian beat No. 1 seed and defending state champion Bayfield, 21-13, and No. 4 La Junta beat No. 5 Salida, 20-0.
“We minimized our mistakes and really took advantage of what we could do today,” Hoffman said. “Anytime you make a trip like this, and it’s something these kids hadn’t experienced, you hope their energy and their focus is in the right place. And our kids have done a great job.”
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Puckett was a five-time Olympian and World Cup skier