Preps: Basalt High School football faces Battle Mountain in rare Thursday game

Basalt High School football players cheer before the start of their season opener against Woodland Park on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, in Basalt. The Longhorns won, 35-6.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Without a preseason scrimmage this fall, the Basalt High School football team went into the opener last week a bit blind in terms of where it was. Few teams, especially on the Western Slope, have the luxury of lining up true varsity starters against each other every day in practice, especially up front.

So, the Longhorns kind of had to learn on the fly and spent the early part of this week figuring out what went right and wrong.

“We had plays where we looked like we knew exactly what we were doing, then we had plays where we have a long way to go. When half of your offensive and defensive line are brand new starters, it’s expected,” BHS coach Carl Frerichs said Wednesday. “That’s the hardest thing to simulate in practice is getting a true varsity defensive line or a true varsity offensive line. You have a hard time simulating that in practice. So we feel like we learned a lot in that game and we had a really good week of practice with the kids realizing we got stuff to work on.”

Basalt (1-0) opened the season on Friday with a 35-6 win over Woodland Park on the BHS field. It was far from perfect for the Longhorns, but all things considered it was a solid start to the fall.

Senior Sam Sherry had a particularly strong game, catching four passes for 29 yards and two touchdowns. He was second on the team with 12 total tackles — junior Trevin Beckman had 14 — and also had one of the team’s three interceptions on the night.

Senior Wilson Maytham had maybe the biggest play of the game, returning a kickoff back for a touchdown moments after Woodland Park had scored what would be its only points of the game.

“I was really pleased with our leadership. I thought my captains, my older kids, really did a good job leading the younger kids,” Frerichs said. “Because it’s kind of a wild mix of kids. I have a lot of returning kids, then I have kids that it’s their first varsity snaps in their high school career. So I was really proud of how our older guys led the younger guys in the game.”

Game 2 comes a day early this week as the Longhorns will host Battle Mountain at 7 p.m. Thursday in a non-league game. Frerichs said the game was moved from Friday due to the state’s ongoing referee shortage.

Basalt junior Ben Limongelli tackles a player during the season opener against Woodland Park on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, on the BHS field. The Longhorns won, 35-6.
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

The Huskies (0-1), who play a level higher than BHS in Class 3A, lost 35-6 last week to Evergreen in their season opener. Battle Mountain and Basalt did not play last year — the Huskies opted to play in the fall, going 3-4 overall, while the Longhorns chose the spring — but had been frequent opponents prior. They last met Sept. 14, 2019, a 28-0 BHS win in Basalt.

Both teams have had the same coaching staff for many years, so having one day less to scout and prepare for this week’s opponent shouldn’t be much of a detriment to either side.

“They love their double wing, even though they do it out of shotgun. So it’s smash-mouth football,” Frerichs said of the Huskies. “I’m sure they’ll have wrinkles and I’m sure we’ll have wrinkles, but their main offense and their main defense they’ve been running for years, just like us.”

Aspen (1-0), which rallied to beat Colorado Springs Christian in its opener last week, 42-21, is off this week due to experiential education. The Skiers return to the field Sept. 10 with a game at Summit and won’t play at home again until their WSL opener on Oct. 1 against Rifle.

A look at the polls

Basalt football is ranked No. 6 in Class 2A this week, down a spot from their preseason ranking. Despite getting rolled 35-3 to Class 3A Palisade — No. 6 this week — in its opener, Rifle remained ahead of BHS in the polls this week at No. 5 in 2A. Delta, a 27-0 winner over Summit in its opener, is No. 4. Resurrection Christian, Eaton and The Classical Academy are first, second and third, respectively.

Aspen is effectively No. 12 this week, while Moffat County also received a couple of votes to be ranked from the 2A Western Slope League. The Bulldogs are 1-0 after a 42-0 win over Northfield in their opener last week. Coal Ridge was the only 2A WSL team to not play a week ago; the Titans open this Friday against Grand Valley.

BHS volleyball keeps winning

The Basalt High School volleyball team played Tuesday night against Summit, winning 3-0 in a game played in Steamboat Springs due to travel difficulties related to the Glenwood Canyon. Set scores were 25-18, 25-16 and 25-20. The Longhorns improved to 3-0 on the young season after also beating Gunnison (3-1) and Aspen (3-2).

BHS softball loses wild game

The Basalt High School softball team played Tuesday at Cedaredge, losing a wild 29-26 contest that saw the Bruins score 12 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally for the win. The second game of the planned doubleheader was not completed.

BHS is now 3-6 overall after splitting with Gunnison over the weekend. The Longhorns are scheduled to host Rifle on Thursday and play Montezuma-Cortez on Saturday.

BHS soccer faces Rams

Also Thursday, Basalt High School boys soccer will play at Roaring Fork in a league game. BHS is 1-3 overall after losses to Kent Denver (5-0) and KIPP Denver Collegiate (3-0) over the weekend. Kent and KIPP are both currently ranked in the top 10 of Class 3A this week, while Coal Ridge jumped up to No. 2 behind only No. 1 Colorado Academy.