Football: Basalt, Aspen both hit road for Friday games

This is the week that could possibly set the Basalt High School football team up for an even greater stage in the near future. But, until the Longhorns can go on the road and take care of Coal Ridge at 7 p.m. today, next week’s looming battle with Moffat County will have be pushed by the wayside.

Basalt (4-2 overall, 2-0 Western Slope League) and Moffat (3-3, 2-0) are currently tied atop the 2A WSL standings with three games remaining.

“The guys know that all we need to focus on is this (today), because if we don’t take care of business (today), then they don’t control their own future,” Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said. “If we come out and play well, I think that following Friday, it really will be for the league championship, the way things are lining up.”

Coal Ridge (1-5, 1-1) is looking to stay in contention for the WSL title. The Titans defeated Aspen, 31-22, in its league opener before falling 28-3 to Moffat last week.

The Longhorns haven’t been touched in two league games, pitching a shutout on both occasions. Last week during homecoming, Basalt clobbered Aspen, 48-0, and the week before beat Steamboat Springs, 49-0.

“As the season has gone on, the kids have really stepped up, and I think they are really understanding what we are trying to do on that side of the ball,” Frerichs said of the team’s suddenly stout defense. “I feel like the defensive line has really put a lot of pressure on the quarterbacks we’ve been playing. I think Alex Alberto and Trevor Reuss at linebacker are really playing strong at that position for us right now.”

Frerichs also pointed out the strong play of defensive ends Raul Torres and Miles Levy, who “are a handful for these offensive lines.”

Coal Ridge’s 31-point game against Aspen was its highest outing of the season; the Titans didn’t score more than 16 points in any of its first four games.

“We are going to need to be ready. They are really balanced on offense,” Frerichs said. “I truly feel with our non-league schedules, it’s prepared us for our league. I just hope the kids can keep that going (today), because it’s a really, really big game for us. The kids know it. We’ve had a good week of practice.”

Also of note, the first RPI rankings came out this week. Basalt is No. 14 in Class 2A, just inside the all-important top 16 needed for the playoffs. Moffat County is No. 22.

Aspen heads to Roaring Fork

The Aspen High School football team had a rough time of it in last week’s 48-0 loss at Basalt. However, it’s all part of the process for a young team working toward the future.

“Although they want to win right now and compete every week, with a young team comes some mental errors that we got to learn to grow up from,” Aspen coach Karson Pike said. “And some of that happens, unfortunately, in games. Continuing to grow has kind of been the mantra. The guys have done a good job of that.”

Aspen (1-5, 0-2) has a mantra of getting 2 percent better every day, and it will get its next chance to show improvement at 7 p.m. today at Roaring Fork. The Rams are 1-5 overall and 1-1 in league play after last week’s 34-6 win at Steamboat Springs.

Roaring Fork took Moffat County to the wire in its league opener, losing 36-33.

“The guys have been focused in. They understand we have a chance at another valley team and the bragging rights that go along with that,” Pike said. “The guys did a great job of taking the coaching and are hungry to win. We still got a chance to finish our conference strong, so they know that’s on the table.”

Some good news for the Skiers is their health. Despite the expected absence of a few reserve players, Pike said they are near a full roster in terms of starters, a notable change from their injury-plagued season.

A key addition this week will be the return of sophomore receiver Noah Hollander, who missed last week’s game against Basalt.

“We got Noah back, which is big. It shuffles our receivers back into a little bit more of a normal position,” Pike said. “As far as starters go, we are probably right there at almost 100 percent. We just lost a little bit of depth, unfortunately, so guys are going to have to play iron man football (today) and tough it out at times.”

Aspen ranks No. 29 in the initial RPI standings, which is third best in the league. Coal Ridge is No. 31, Roaring Fork No. 33 and Steamboat Springs No. 42.