Season ends for Basalt football in playoff loss
The scoreboard told a story of defeat, a 27-20 season-ending loss to visiting D’Evelyn on Saturday in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs in Basalt.
But when the Basalt High School football team got together like it does any week — surrounded by fans, parents, classmates and coaches — on the field after the loss, a story was told of Longhorn pride. With it comes a belief in each other to keep fighting until the very end.
“That’s kind of been our whole season. The effort of these kids all season — at practice, in the classroom — everything they are doing, they are going 110 percent,” said Basalt football coach Carl Frerichs. “We did some good things, we did some things where we struggled, but we kept fighting, and that’s all we ask these guys to do is fight for four quarters.”
The playoff game was only the third in nine seasons under Frerichs, and came on the heels of Basalt’s first league title since sharing the crown during the 1983-84 school year.
Seeded No. 8, Basalt faced No. 9 seed D’Evelyn — located in Denver — in a game that proved to be one of the most competitive of the eight first-round games in 2A.
“It’s good to be battle-tested the first round and they are a good football team,” D’Evelyn coach Jeremy Bennett said. “Their quarterback went out early and that was unfortunate for them, but I thought the kid that came in did a great job.”
The story of the game became Basalt sophomore quarterback Trevor Reuss, who was pressed into action after an injury to senior starter Miles Levy midway through the second quarter brought an early end to his season.
It was the poise of Reuss, with the season hanging in the balance, which allowed the Longhorns to rally from a three-score deficit in the fourth quarter and make the Jaguars fight to the bitter end for their victory.
“When your leader goes down, your all-state quarterback goes down, I think it’s a big difference,” Frerichs said. “But Trevor Reuss really stepped up and did some great things for us out there. All the way down to the end, we had opportunities”
A 56-yard touchdown pass from D’Evelyn quarterback Chad Dines to receiver Josh Riggs extended the Jaguars’ lead to 27-10 with 6:47 to play in the game. With the game seemingly no longer in doubt, Reuss found junior Raul Torres for a 79-yard touchdown pass and catch on the first play of the next possession.
A quick three-and-out gave the Longhorn offense another shot, the drive ending with a short field goal by senior Pablo Rivera to make it a one-possession game with 2:02 remaining. A failed onside kick attempt allowed the Jaguars to hold on for the win.
“They did a good job in the play calling in the second half, mixing things up, especially in the fourth quarter,” Bennett said. “We played sound for two-thirds of the game, and then we reverted back to some bad habits we have to get rid of.”
Basalt led 3-0 in the game after an early Rivera field goal, but D’Evelyn quickly answered with a long drive and 10-yard touchdown pass from Dines to Rome McIntyre for a 6-3 lead. Another touchdown on the next possession — this time a 12-yard hook-up from Dines to Riggs — made it 13-3 early in the second quarter.
The Longhorns got one of the scores back before half, a 25-yard pass from Reuss — who had just entered the game to begin that drive — to junior Griffen Jenkins. D’Evelyn led 13-10 at halftime.
The game’s decisive play came late in the third quarter, a nearly 80-yard punt return by D’Evelyn’s Cody Bell to extend the lead to 20-10. After a couple of failed Basalt possessions, the Jaguars pushed its lead to three scores with the second Dines-Riggs connection in the fourth quarter.
“Their offensive line is as good as we’ve seen all season, and they did a good job blocking us,” Frerichs said. “We missed some opportunities. But I think we went toe-to-toe with them. We knew we could. They are a darn good football team; credit to them and that staff.”
The win sends D’Evelyn (8-2 overall) to the 2A state quarterfinals, where it will face No. 1 seed La Junta next week. La Junta was a 42-0 winner over No. 16 seed University on Saturday. The only other upset, according to seed, in the first round was No. 10 Delta beating No. 7 Faith Christian, 14-7.
Basalt ends the season 7-3 overall, the most wins since also winning seven games in 2010. That season, under Frerichs, the Longhorns made the playoffs for the first time in 27 years. They also made the playoffs in 2012.
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