Jake Reardon finally ready to become Basalt football’s feature running back
Jake Reardon is part of a senior class that has, for the most part, played alongside one another since the third grade. And pretty much from day one he has been the group’s feature running back.
But, since getting to Basalt High School and joining the Longhorns’ football program, Reardon has found himself as the backup, at best. That will change this season as the 5-foot-10, 150-pound runner looks to step into that starting role.
“He’s always been capable of great running. We’ve known that since we were young in the peewees. He’s always been a star on our team,” Basalt senior quarterback Trevor Reuss said of Reardon. “We are really excited to see his speed and agility this year as he steps up to the starting spot. He’s also run behind some good runners, so hopefully he can learn some from that.”
Basalt, No. 8 in 2A, opens its season at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31 against visiting Class 1A Olathe. And, in what seems long overdue, Reardon will start at tailback in what has traditionally been a run-heavy offense under 11th-year coach Carl Frerichs.
“I’m super, super excited. I feel like my skill level is definitely there. I just need to be patient and I got to have trust in my O-line,” Reardon said. “Watching those super-skilled backs above me like Noah, I’ve learned from them over the past three years … I definitely picked up the aggressiveness. Just wanting to go out there and be confident. You can have a great impact on the game if you are confident and ready.”
Reardon was second on the team with 301 yards and five touchdowns rushing as a junior. He was the primary backup for senior Noah Williams, who ran for 1,422 yards and 26 touchdowns in his lone season with the Longhorns. The 6-foot, 200-pound Williams is a freshman on the Fort Lewis football team this fall.
While Williams wasn’t short on speed, his physicality as a runner certainly stood out. Reardon, who is about 50 pounds lighter, is more of a “one cut type of back,” according to Reuss. His ability to avoid defenders is his calling card.
“His strength is really his quickness and speed,” Frerichs said. “He is a really different type of runner than Noah. But he’s really good at hiding behind his blocks and once he finds his angle is really good at hitting those gaps and going.”
Reardon finished the season as the primary backup in 2016 after a season-ending injury to starter Ian Lumsden pushed then-junior Alex Alberto into the starting spot. Alberto, who transferred out of state for his senior season, ran for 865 yards and eight touchdowns that season. Reardon finished with 199 yards and three scores as a sophomore, and rarely saw the field as a freshman.
“It doesn’t really change anything,” senior lineman Jake Reuss said of blocking for the shiftier Reardon as opposed to a more physical runner like Williams. “Still trying to create big enough holes. Obviously Noah was a lot bigger and was able to break more tackles at once, but Reardon is good at not even having to break tackles because he’ll make everyone miss.”
Key to Reardon’s success this season will be the offensive line, which lost three starters from last fall. Jake Reuss and senior Ryan Borchelt, both guards, are the only returners. Senior Esteban Magana looks to fill the shoes of graduate Oswaldo Morales at center, while senior Goskany Luquin is in at right tackle. Junior Ernesto Lopez and senior Teagan Magidson are still battling it out for the left tackle spot.
“I was running behind those guys for eight years in middle school and JV, so I know they can create some holes and allow me to get open,” Reardon said of his O-line. “We know our strengths and weaknesses as players and what to do and what to say to get everyone motivated. I’m really confident in the offense. Trevor is returning again. The O-line, I think, is going to be really good. And hopefully I can help with that, too.”
GOING FOR THE THREE-PEAT
Basalt is going for its third straight Class 2A Western Slope League championship this fall, although the addition of powerhouse programs Delta and Rifle to the mix this season will up the challenge. Olathe (0-0) has finished 4-5 each of the past two seasons, and last played Basalt in 2013, winning 34-0. The Pirates won the 2A state championship in both 2008 and 2010.
Olathe does boast a deep senior class in 2018 and is receiving a couple of votes to be ranked in 1A.
“Realizing this is a new season and we better be ready to go, because what you’ve done in the past means nothing,” Frerichs said, saying the Longhorns need to put last season in the rear-view mirror. “It’s a great opportunity for some of these kids to step up. We are really excited for some of these kids that have been waiting their turn to take bigger leadership roles. Then some of these guys who have already been our leaders are taking even bigger leadership roles.”
And among those leaders will be Reardon, who looks to play a major role in getting Basalt back to the playoffs for the third straight season. The Longhorns beat Salida in the first round last fall, their first 2A playoff win in school history, before falling 41-0 to eventual state champion Bayfield in the quarterfinals.
“After being out here for a few months, it’s wearing us down a little,” Jake Reuss said of waiting for the season to start. “We just are ready to play. We are excited and we’ve been waiting since we were standing in Bayfield last year after losing.”
When Jamie Schulte revs her engine at the Red Bull Romaniacs, she’ll carry some confidence. This is, after all, a woman who skateboarded from Santa Barbara to Mexico, a “pretty impressive, gnarly 16-day trip,” just because.
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