Football home openers for Aspen, Basalt |

Football home openers for Aspen, Basalt

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Aspen's Ryan Fitzgerald takes off on a long touchdown run against Bayfield last season. Fitzgerald, who gained 96 yards last week in a loss at Montezuma-Cortez, and the Skiers will host Grand Valley at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Aspen Times file photo |

Friday night lights will shine again tonight in Aspen and Basalt.

The Aspen and Basalt high school football teams will open their home seasons at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Skiers, who opened the season with a road loss at Montezuma-Cortez last weekend, will host Grand Valley in the first home game under new head coach Ryan Triece.

The Longhorns, playing their first game of the year, will host Cedaredge in a nonleague opener at Basalt High School.

“They can’t wait to play another team,” Basalt head coach Carl Frerichs said this week. “We’re really excited. I had a chance to scout them (Cedaredge Bruins) at their scrimmage.”

Frerichs, in his seventh year at the helm of the Longhorns, said the teams should match up well in Friday night’s opener at Basalt.

Cedaredge, in the Class 1A Western Slope League, is coming off a state playoff appearance a year ago when another 1A Western Slope League team — Paonia — won the state championship.

“I think it will be a good high school football game,” Frerichs said, adding that the Longhorns had a strong turnout for weight room workouts all summer.

He said Basalt will have a new starting backfield this year, including captain Josue Vigil and fellow captain Richie Guerrero.

Guerrero will handle fullback duties with Vigil at tailback.

Sophomore Miles Levy will be Basalt’s quarterback.

The Basalt head coach said senior Alex Nakagawa is the spirited leader of the Longhorns, especially on defense.

“He’s our team leader … he’s been awesome,” Frerichs said of the linebacker who will play wide receiver and running back on offense.

David Flores will handle the kicking duties for the Longhorns.

Basalt tight end Jake Levy also is back for his senior season. He’s already drawn the interest of several small colleges. The 6-4, 240-pound senior will play tight end with a likely future as a college offensive tackle.

Basalt will continue its nonconference preseason schedule Sept. 5 when the Longhorns travel to Center, deep in the heart of the San Luis Valley.

The Longhorns will host Eagle Valley on Sept. 12 before another nonleague game at Grand Valley on Sept. 19.

Grand Valley, formerly a member of the 2A Western Slope League, dropped down to the 1A Western Slope League this year because of an enrollment decline at the Parachute-area school.

Basalt will host Coal Ridge in the conference opener Sept. 26. Then, the Longhorns will host Moffat County on Oct. 3 before road trips to Roaring Fork and Battle Mountain.

Basalt will close the regular season Oct. 24 when the Longhorns host Aspen.

Moffat County dropped down this year to join the 2A Western Slope North League.

The Aspen Skiers will be looking for their first win of the season when they kick off at 7 Friday night against the Grand Valley Cardinals.

The Skiers, with three turnovers, dropped their road opener 33-0 at Cortez in spite of 96 rushing yards from senior Ryan Fitzgerald, the leading rusher in the 2A Western Slope League last year. Evan Morris rushed for 36 yards in the Aspen opener and quarterback Tyler Tick ran for 31 yards.

Morris also recovered a fumble for the Skiers last weekend.

The Skiers will hit the road the following weekend for a Sept. 5 game at 3A Steamboat Springs.

One week later, Aspen will host Cedaredge, the team that will play at Basalt tonight.

Aspen will open the conference season in Carbondale at Roaring Fork on Sept. 26.

The Skiers will travel to Coal Ridge on Oct. 3 before hosting Battle Mountain and Moffat County on Oct. 10 and 17, respectively.

Aspen will close the regular season at Basalt on Oct. 24.