Second half strength carries Basalt football over Moffat County
It was a second half that won’t soon be forgotten by the Basalt High School football team or its fans.
Down a point at the break against visiting Moffat County on Friday, with the Class 2A Western Slope League lead hanging in the balance, the Longhorns dominated the final two quarters to pull away for a 20-8 win on senior night.
“In the locker room, we were cool and collected. We knew we had a shot, we just knew we had to take it from them,” junior lineman Oswaldo Morales said. “We came in with that mentality knowing that our offensive line was dominating; we were just shooting ourselves in the foot. But we cleaned it up and we got it done.”
The two teams entered Friday’s contest as the last remaining undefeated teams in the WSL with two games to go. Moffat, the reigning league champion, had the opportunity to clinch the outright title with a win, but the Longhorns had other plans.
While the win doesn’t give the outright title to Basalt (6-2 overall, 4-0 WSL), a win next week at Roaring Fork to finish the regular season would. It’s been more than 30 years since Basalt last won a league championship.
Roaring Fork (3-1 in league play) was a 13-10 winner at Coal Ridge on Friday.
“It was definitely a special night,” Basalt senior quarterback Miles Levy said. “Going into halftime down, we just needed to step up. We knew what we needed to do and we came out and we executed. Just the support we have from our community is ridiculous.”
Basalt led 7-0 over Moffat on Friday after a 45-yard touchdown pass from Levy to senior receiver Will Chadbourne midway through the first quarter. Moffat answered in the final seconds of the first quarter on a short touchdown run, a successful conversion giving the Bulldogs an 8-7 lead.
That score held into the locker room.
“We were a little worried with where our kids were,” Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said. “I felt like that momentum was huge for us in the second half. The offensive line and Alex Alberto were just phenomenal. Colin Hipona at the fullback played phenomenal. And defensively, we bent a lot, but when it was time to stand tall, we made some huge plays.”
Everything changed in the second half. Basalt opened the third quarter with a quick touchdown drive — Levy’s pass to senior Kyle Roberts from 3 yards out made it 13-8 in favor of the Longhorns. Then, with less than five minutes to play, Basalt extended its lead to 12 points on a short QB sneak by Levy.
An opportunistic defense did the rest, holding the Bulldogs without a point in the second half.
“I’m not sure what happened the first half. We just kind of figured it out,” Levy said. “We were just playing with heart.”
A win next week at Roaring Fork would give the Longhorns an undefeated league season and outright WSL title. A loss could potentially lead to a three-way tie between Basalt, Roaring Fork and Moffat County. The Bulldogs finish their season next week at home against Aspen.
“We came expecting a dogfight, and that’s what we got. I’m so proud of our team for pulling it out,” Morales said of Friday’s win. “We take it game by game. After Fork, we’ll see what comes. Right now we are just going to be focused on Fork.”
Aspen was a 22-20 winner over Steamboat Springs on Friday, with a couple of late defensive stands preserving its first league win. The Skiers are now 2-6 overall on the season.
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