Football: Basalt faces mighty Rifle in season-opener
The Basalt High School football team finished the 2015 season with three straight wins and a 5-4 record, going 4-1 in the Class 2A Western Slope League. However, none of this was enough to get the Longhorns into the postseason, and that’s a scenario senior Ian Lumsden is determined not to relive.
“I just remember that feeling, waking up that morning and realizing that we didn’t make it. And I was angry,” Lumsden said. “There were two teams that got into the playoffs with worse records than us last season. So I’m not going to say we have a chip on our shoulder, but I felt like we deserved to be in it last year.”
Entering its ninth season under head coach Carl Frerichs, the Longhorns open their 2016 schedule at 7 p.m. today against 3A powerhouse Rifle. It’s a tall task for a program that often struggles to reach .500, but there are pieces in place to make this team stand above the rest.
“On offense, we return 10 of 11 starters. On defense, we return seven of 11,” Frerichs said. “We always set our goals high and we are always working hard, but we definitely have a lot of kids returning, so we are excited. But I also know other kids will step up that you don’t think of from the season before.”
Basalt returns its entire offensive line from a year ago, including all-league selection Cullen White and honorable mention pick Oswaldo Morales. Lumsden returns as the team’s leading rusher from a year ago, alongside all-league receiver Kyle Roberts and senior quarterback Miles Levy, a third-year starter, back under center.
“Coach has been talking all spring and summer about this being a special team,” Lumsden said. “He’s had similar teams like this, but he’s never had a team that’s been this close and had this kind of skill set. We’ve been playing together, most of us, since we were third- or fourth-graders.”
Still, that first opponent is going to challenge even the most experienced of Longhorn players. Rifle has played in the 3A state title game twice in the past four years, finishing as runner-up each time. Last season, Rifle went 9-2, its season ending in the first round of the 3A playoffs.
ColoradoPreps.com has Rifle ranked No. 7 in Class 3A entering the season.
“We are excited to prove ourselves. Rifle is a big opponent, and we think we have what it takes to come out and put up a fight,” Levy said. “If we happen to get a loss, it’s always important that we bounce back from one. We need to learn how to do that. If it happens (today), then so be it. But we are planning on going out there and getting a win.”
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