Football: Basalt, now 6-0, and Aspen roll to Western Slope League road wins
The Basalt High School football team overcame a slow start en route to a 34-0 win at Coal Ridge on Friday to keep its undefeated season alive. The game was scoreless late into the first half before the Longhorns scored three touchdowns in less than three minutes — including two scores in six seconds — to take a 20-0 lead into the locker room.
“We just told them we were lucky to be in the situation we were in with the way we were playing,” Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said of the halftime talk. “We felt like in the first half we killed ourselves on a lot of drives — just penalties or sacks. We seemed to move the ball pretty well all night, so it wasn’t so much that.”
Junior quarterback Matty Gillis got BHS on the scoreboard when he connected with senior receiver Jackson Rapaport on a 10-yard touchdown to make it 7-0 with 2:28 until halftime. Coal Ridge made a big mistake on the ensuing kickoff, allowing the Longhorns to recover the ball around the 6-yard line of the Titans, and the next play it was sophomore running back Cole Dombrowski who ran it in for the second score in six seconds to make it 14-0.
The BHS defense would give the offense the ball back one more time before the break, and Gillis ran it in from 2 yards out for a third Basalt touchdown before half.
“Our team is very young and a work in progress, but we feel good about the future,” Coal Ridge coach Paul Downing told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. “The turnovers we had early in the game have been the story of our season to this point. We’ve found ways to make mistakes at key moments in games and it has cost us. At times, we have had trouble recovering emotionally from those mistakes.”
That score held into the fourth quarter before Rapaport made it 27-0 after a 34-yard touchdown run with less than nine minutes to play. Dombrowski added another score on a short run for the game’s final touchdown with less than five minutes remaining.
It was the third shutout of the season for Basalt’s defense.
“They’ve had a lot of close games and they are definitely a tough and physical team,” Frerichs said of the Titans. “That fullback (Damian) Spell is a stud and we definitely had our hands full with him all night, but I think as the game went on we wore him down.”
The loss dropped Coal Ridge to 1-5 overall and 0-2 in Class 2A Western Slope League play. Basalt, ranked No. 7 this week, improved to 6-0 and 2-0 after a 49-7 win over Moffat County in the league opener last week. BHS next will play at current No. 2 Delta, which fell to 5-1 and 1-1 after a 47-29 loss at No. 1 Rifle on Friday.
Aspen football keeps playoff hopes alive with win in Craig
The Aspen High School football team still has plenty to play for this season after a 28-0 win at Moffat County on Friday night that keeps its playoff hopes alive.
It was a sloppy game, especially early, with double-digit turnovers between the teams on a cold and sometimes windy night in Craig. Neither team scored in the first quarter and a scoreless first half looked possible until junior quarterback Tyler Ward found senior receiver Jonathan Woodrow on a 14-yard touchdown connection with less than a minute remaining in the second quarter. The successful 2-point conversion made it 8-0 Aspen at halftime.
The Skiers doubled their lead late in the third quarter when senior tailback Jack Seamans scored on a short run for a 16-0 advantage going into the fourth. Aspen pulled away over the final minutes, with senior Jon Haisfield scoring on a QB sneak to make it 22-0 with seven minutes to play before Ward found Woodrow again on a long TD pass only a couple of minutes later.
It was the second shutout in three games for Aspen, which beat Grand Valley 44-0 on Sept. 27 to close out non-league play.
Moffat, which started the season 4-0, fell to 4-2 overall and 0-2 in WSL play. The Bulldogs lost 49-7 to Basalt in the league opener last week and will next host Coal Ridge for senior night.
Aspen, a preseason top-10 team in 2A, improved to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in league play. It was a critical bounce-back win after losing 27-14 to No. 2 Delta last week and keeps them in the playoff picture. Next up, the Skiers will host No. 1 Rifle. The Bears are 6-0 after rolling over Delta on Friday.
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Spectators can still cheer on Aspen School District athletes so long as they wear a mask and follow current pandemic health and safety protocols, Superintendent David Baugh wrote in a Jan. 18 update on COVID-19 policies and school sports.