Football: Delta run game to challenge Basalt |

Football: Delta run game to challenge Basalt

Basalt 2016 football schedule

Aug. 26 vs. Rifle, 48-34 Loss

Sept. 9 @ Grand Valley, 49-7 Win

Friday @ Delta, 7 p.m.

Sept. 23 @ Battle Mountain

Sept. 30 vs. Steamboat Springs

Oct. 7 vs. Aspen

Oct. 14 @ Coal Ridge

Oct. 21 vs. Moffat County

Oct. 28 @ Roaring Fork

Yes, Damon Jensen, the Basalt High School football players know who you are.

Jensen, Delta High School’s senior running back, has rushed for 525 yards and four touchdowns in only 44 attempts during the Panthers’ two games. This, according to MaxPreps, is tops in Colorado, any classification.

Those are the sort of numbers even Basalt coach Carl Frerichs has to bring up when preparing for today’s 7 p.m. game in Delta.

“Any time a kid runs for 300 yards in a game, that stands out for us,” Frerichs said. “He’s been a big part of the game plan. They are pretty balanced, though, to be honest. They do throw the ball.”

Delta (1-1) had recently become a Class 3A powerhouse under coach Ben Johnson, advancing to the 3A semifinals twice in the past three seasons, including last season when it went 11-2 overall. The Panthers find themselves in 2A this season with the new realignment, playing out of the Intermountain League and are ranked No. 6 in the classification by the Colorado High School Activities Association.

After losing 21-20 to Durango in Zero Week — and after a Week 1 bye — the Panthers went on the road and rolled over Moffat County a week ago, winning 50-13, a game in which Jensen tallied 316 yards rushing on 22 carries.

“We definitely need to be ready for the pass, but the run game needs to be our focus. We need to stop the run,” Frerichs said. “A game like Rifle really helps with the run game, because you are not going to find a more polished run offense in 3A or 2A football. So that really helps us know our responsibilities.”

Basalt’s Zero Week loss at home to Rifle, 48-34, could prove helpful in preparing for Delta. While Rifle did have its way with the Longhorn defense most of the night, Basalt should be more prepared this week — and more confident — fresh off a 49-7 win at Grand Valley on Sept. 9.

Like Delta, Basalt (1-1) had a bye week between its first and second game.

“We haven’t played them since I’ve been at Basalt, so it’s new territory for the team,” Frerichs said. “What it shows is what a playoff game is going to be like. I truly think Delta is one of the top teams in 2A. I think it would really show us what it’s like to go against one of the better teams in the playoffs.”

While it’s a non-league game, Delta is the sort of opponent Basalt would have to contest with should it make the playoffs. As far as getting to the playoffs, RPI is all the rage these days, and a win against a highly ranked opponent like Delta could greatly impact seeding.

“With the RPI system, it’s a huge game for us,” Frerichs said. “Delta is a really good team and we respect them. They got some big kids over there. But I truly believe if our kids focus on what they need to be doing and focus on what we can control, then that’s going to be the key to our success.”

Aspen High School football is off this week. The Skiers return to the field Sept. 23 against Grand Valley.

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