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Glenwood, Roaring Fork soccer coaches join players in top 3A, 4A league picks

Two Roaring Fork Valley soccer coaches earned Western Slope League Coach of the Year honors in Class 3A and 4A All-Conference selections announced this week.

Likewise, several Glenwood Springs, Rifle, Roaring Fork, Basalt and Coal Ridge players made the All WSL First Team, along with several honorable mentions for the just-concluded season.

Glenwood Springs High School head coach Wayne Smith was selected in league voting as 4A Coach of the Year, after leading the Demons to the state playoffs with a 10-3-3 overall record.

Glenwood finished second in the WSL with a 7-2-3 league record, behind league champion Battle Mountain. Huskies’ senior midfielder Dani Barajas earned 4A WSL Player of the Year honors.

Selected for the All-Conference First Team from Glenwood Springs were senior defensive player Mitchell Burt and senior goalkeeper Carlos Guardado.

Rifle High School, which earned its first trip to the 4A playoffs since 2011 with a 10-6 record, also had a pair of first-team picks in senior goalkeeper Alexis Jimenez and junior forward Luis Molina.


Player of the Year — Dani Barajas, Battle Mountain High School

Coach of the Year — Wayne Smith, Glenwood Springs High School

First Team: Mitchell Burt and Carlos Guardado (Glenwood Springs); Alexis Jimenez and Luis Molina (Rifle); Dani Barajas, Louis Castillo, Trevin Twiss, Quinn Mitchell and Harrison Rubis (Battle Mountain); Alexys Ramos (Eagle Valley); Ivan Guiterrez (Summit); Josh Meyers (Palisade)

Honorable Mention: German Alvarado, Justin Garces and Angel Bernal (Glenwood Springs); Paul Cerros and Isaac Rivas (Rifle) Tirin Cameron and Seamus Phelan (Eagle Valley); Karsen Williams (Battle Mountain); Chris Lopez and Maschelle Kepple (Summit); Oli Capperrili, Sam Brown and Alfredo Perez (Steamboat Springs); Silas Ford (Palisade)

Rams top 3A picks

In the 3A picks, the state runner-up Roaring Fork Rams of Carbondale led the way in All-Conference First Team selections with three players, while seventh-year Rams coach Nick Forbes was given league Coach of the Year honors.

Roaring Fork won the 3A WSL with a 5-1 league mark, and capped a 15-3-1 season with a loss to state champion Kent Denver last weekend.

A trio of Rams seniors made first team — forward Dylan Webster, midfielder Lucas Schramer and defensive player Frankie Harrington. Coal Ridge was represented by junior Jack Price.


Player of the Year —Martin Corral, Delta

Coach of the Year — Nick Forbes, Roaring Fork

First Team: Dylan Webster, Lucas Schramer and Frankie Harrington (Roaring Fork); Jack Price (Coal Ridge); Mateo Salazar and Gaby Bonilla (Basalt); Jose Medrano (Aspen); Martin Corral and Jarrett Hernandez (Delta); Erik Payan (Moffat County); Zach Stockton (Vail Mountain)

Honorable Mention: Ross Barlow, Noah Wheeless and Emiliano Magana (Roaring Fork); JP Gallardo (Coal Ridge); Angel Arce (Basalt); Charlie Forster and Nick Mitchel (Aspen); Felipe Bedoy, Alexis Fansto and Nico Sanabria (Delta); Joey Greenblatt, Nick O’Connell and Henry Stranch (Vail Mountain); Mario Numez (Moffat County)

Miracle in Basalt: Overtime play sends Basalt football to quarterfinal upset of No. 1 Rifle

They had tried the play earlier in the game, but to no avail. Without many options facing fourth-and-33 and with the season hanging in the balance, it seemed as good a spot as any to give it another go.

Basalt High School senior receiver Jackson Rapaport took the reverse from quarterback Matty Gillis before heaving it toward the end zone and into the arms of junior receiver Rulbe Alvarado in a play that was nothing short of a miracle for the Longhorns.

“To be honest with you, sometimes you get lucky and that was one of those plays,” Basalt football coach Carl Frerichs said. “Rulbe is a heck of a player. … He’s a special kid. Everyone wants to get him more involved because he’s so fast and so athletic. I’m so happy for him.”

Paired with his crucial kickoff return for a touchdown, Alvarado stole the show on Saturday when No. 9 seed Basalt pulled out a stunner over No. 1 Rifle, winning 21-14 in double overtime on the BHS field. The Class 2A state quarterfinal win sends the Longhorns (9-2) to the semifinals for the first time in program history and ends Rifle’s season with a lone loss.

The Bears (10-1) had beaten Basalt as recently as Oct. 25, winning 21-9 that day on the BHS field after trailing early in the fourth quarter. Saturday’s playoff rematch had a lot of similarities with the regular-season matchup.

“I don’t know if I had any expectations, except I knew our kids would play with their heart and do anything we asked them to do and that’s exactly what they did,” Rifle coach Damon Wells said. “That’s one of the negative byproducts of making the playoffs, is you know for 15 out of the 16 teams it’s going to end in heartbreak. One thing we talked about is it certainly doesn’t feel any better the later you lose in the playoffs, but it sure is a tough one today.”

Rifle led Saturday’s game 14-6 early in the third quarter after standout running back Levi Warfel broke loose for a 62-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1. With momentum back in favor of the visiting team, Alvarado responded by taking the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown. He even caught the 2-point conversion that tied the game at 14-14 with more than nine minutes still to play in the third quarter.

“I’ve been wanting one all season. I just got to give credit to the blockers for helping me get it to the end zone,” Alvarado said of his kickoff return. “We just knew it was going to be a fight the whole way through. I felt like we were kind of losing hope, but I’m just glad we stuck with each other and went all the way.”

Rifle also led 7-0 after a 1-yard run by Warfel capped off the team’s first possession. A defensive stop on fourth-and-short to open the second quarter swung momentum in favor of Basalt, and it was a rare Rifle fumble that set up the Longhorns deep in enemy territory.

A few plays later, Gillis dropped a dime into Rapaport from 22 yards out for the touchdown. A botched extra point try kept Rifle up 7-6 heading into the locker room, which was the exact same halftime score when the teams played Oct. 25 in Basalt.

“Rifle, they were saying, ‘Make them regret Round 2.’ And we weren’t going to let that happen. We weren’t going to let the rebuilding year chip keep getting bigger on our shoulder,” Gillis said. “After we played last week, all of us were all in every single day, every single play.”

The game went to overtime tied 14-14, Alvarado’s kickoff return for a touchdown early in the third quarter proving to be the final points of regulation. Rifle had the first possession in overtime, but the BHS defense made a stop on fourth down to give its offense a shot at the win. Needing only a field goal to end it, Gillis had a third-down pass intercepted by Rifle’s Carter Pressler in the end zone that forced a second overtime.

The end of that play resulted in a personal foul on Basalt for a late hit, meaning BHS had to start the second overtime period at the 25-yard-line instead of the 10. That’s when, on fourth down with a third of the football field in front of them, Rapaport launched his prayer to Alvarado that gave BHS the 21-14 lead.

The Bears still had a chance to tie, but they also had to start from the 25 after getting called for roughing the kicker on Basalt’s extra-point try, which was good. Facing fourth-and-25, Rifle’s prayer went unanswered, Rapaport jumping up to snag the pass near the goal line to end the game.

“Last time we thought we didn’t fulfill what we should have done. I’m glad we had another opportunity to show everyone we could do it,” Alvarado said of finally beating Rifle. “We knew that if Jackson got a good pass I just had to run and catch it. And we believed in each other and I think that helped us get the win.”

Unlike Rifle, which has three state championships to its name, including the 3A title back in 2004, Basalt has never been this far in the playoffs. The Longhorns lost in the quarterfinals each of the past two seasons, the only two times they’ve ever been among the final eight teams, until this fall.

“Honestly, I’m speechless,” Rapaport said. “After the game I was in tears. I wasn’t even sure if I have really accepted it’s happened. It’s unbelievable, really.”

And, believe it or not, despite being only the No. 9 seed in the 16-team playoff bracket, the Longhorns will host their 2A semifinal game against No. 4 seed Delta, yet another Western Slope League foe. The Panthers beat No. 5 Faith Christian on Saturday, winning 37-35, to advance. With Basalt and Delta both having been the home team in the quarterfinals, the semifinal host was decided by a simple coin flip won by the Longhorns.

That semifinal game is tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday in Basalt. The Longhorns’ only other defeat this season came Oct. 18 at Delta, a 35-6 loss. Delta’s only loss this season came Oct. 11 at Rifle, 47-29.

“That was probably the one game all season where I just wasn’t pleased with the way we coached or played, so I think we can regroup and do some things better,” Frerichs said of the first game with Delta. “But they are a heck of a team. There is a reason why they are in the semifinals. We’re going to have to get the to drawing board and make sure we are ready to go on Saturday.”

The other semifinal game will be between No. 2 Sterling and No. 3 Resurrection Christian. The 2A state championship game is scheduled for Nov. 30 in Pueblo.


Kent Denver dashes Roaring Fork’s championship hopes, 5-0 in 3A state soccer final

For 50 minutes of play in the 3A state high school soccer final Saturday it seemed quite possible Carbondale’s Roaring Fork Rams just might pull off the seemingly impossible.

But a four-goal scoring barrage by Kent Denver over a 15-minute span in the second half saw it all come crashing down. 

In the end, the second-seeded Sun Devils were state champs for a second-straight year by virtue of a 5-0 shutout over No. 5 Roaring Fork, and the Rams were relegated to runner-up.

“We were right there with them that whole first half, pretty much neck and neck, and it really felt like we had a good chance,” Rams senior Lucas Schramer said as he left the field at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.

“Then, we just let a couple slide, and it all seemed to come right at once,” he said.

All at once is right, as Kent Denver senior forward Pace Billings broke it open with just over 30 minutes showing on the second-half clock to give the Sun Devils the 1-0 advantage.

After Rams junior goalkeeper Noah Wheeless made several impressive saves, Kent Denver pushed the ball into heavy traffic in front of the net, when a ricochet gave Billings a wide-open shot just inside the left post.

Not 15 minutes later, it was all but over, as Billings had scored two more goals, the second off a Sun Devils corner kick, for a hat trick on the day.

“That first half, to shut them out, I was so confident in our team,” Wheeless said. “My defense was on lock, but the offense was struggling a little bit with just two shots on goal. Their defense is just really tough.”

After the Rams dialed up some offensive pressure in the first three minutes of the second half, the momentum turned Kent’s way.

“They just found the gaps in my defense and started playing to their wings and coming in close to the two-hole,” Wheeless said. “They were just right in my box, and there was nothing I could do.” 

Nonetheless, “I love my team, and I’m proud of how we played,” he said.

Kent senior Max Hewitt added another goal just over a minute after Billings’ third, and then senior Layton Purchase added the fifth goal with 7 minutes left to play.

The Rams had several scoring opportunities in the first half, including a header shot from senior Dylan Webster off a free kick in the 31st minute that sailed just high over the crossbar. Two minutes into the second half, Webster had an open shot that went just wide left.

Roaring Fork coach Nick Forbes said it’s one more big step for a program that’s made the final four of the 3A playoffs the last two seasons.

“We’re going to keep building, and we’ll see you again next year in the same game,” he vowed, while crediting the Kent Denver program.

“From back to front, they’re just a really strong program,” Forbes said. “It’s hard coming from a public school and matching those resources and a program that’s so established.”

Kent coach Arty Smith also commended the Roaring Fork program. 

“Coach Forbes did a great job; they were well-organized and obviously we couldn’t break them down in that first half,” Smith said. “They just always had an answer for anything we threw at them.”

Patience paid off for the Sun Devils, though, who forced the Rams to open it up after the first goal and were able to create the follow-up scoring chances.

“But boy, Roaring Fork, that is a very good soccer team, and they’ve got a lot to be proud of,” Smith said. “They showed a lot of heart and a lot of spirit, and I’m sure they’re going to be back.”

The championship game marked the final game in a Rams uniform for seniors Schramer, Webster, Connor Brennan, Johnny Delgado, Frankie Harrington, Aidan Foote and Sawyer Shook.


Roaring Fork run to 3A soccer state title game has been several years in the making

The state championship-bound Roaring Fork High School boys soccer team has something to prove this season.

After graduating most of a senior-heavy team last year — and after bowing out of the state playoffs in the semifinals that year and the quarterfinals the year before that — the 2019 contingent of Rams are out to make a name for themselves.

“I feel like a lot of the guys this year kind of came out of their shell,” senior Connor Brennan said Thursday as the team went through final drills in preparation for a 3A title game matchup with defending state champion Kent Denver on Saturday morning.

Game time is 11 a.m. for the No. 5 Rams versus the No. 2 Sun Devils at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.

Roaring Fork Ram Lucas Schramer looks for an open teammate against Fort Lupton High School in second-round playoff action.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent


“We only had three non-senior starters last year, and so we really had to step it up this year and show that we were just as good as the seniors who left,” Brennan said. “It feels really good to finally get there; like all the effort and work we put in over the past few years is finally coming together.”

It’s also been a building process for seventh-year coach Nick Forbes who, after four straight years sending a Roaring Fork team into the playoffs, has the Rams playing for a state title.

“This team has showed some pretty incredible perseverance,” Forbes said of a varsity squad that has almost as many underclassmen starting as juniors and seniors.

The Rams’ 2-1 win over No. 1 Salida in the semifinals on Wednesday was a great example. 

Scoreless through more than 75 minutes of play, Roaring Fork suddenly found itself down 1-0 with time ticking away. But the Rams, thanks to the foot of sophomore Ross Barlow, tied it with just over a minute in regulation. 

Then, Barlow’s penalty kick in overtime was golden, giving the win to Roaring Fork and a shot at the state title. 

“To carry through that way shows the perseverance,” Forbes said.


Barlow and senior Dylan Webster have been the team leaders all season on the scoring front, with 18 and 14 goals, respectively. 

But a good bit of the Rams’ scoring also came from freshman Emiliano Magana, who netted eight goals. 

“It’s great to play with this group, and it makes me a better player and helps me improve my skills,” Magana said. “The coaches here are really good, and my teammates keep me motivated to get better.”

Forbes hands it to the All-Valley Select Soccer Club for developing young players and helping to feed the area high school teams.

“They keep pumping out talent, and we keep profiting from that,” Forbes said. “It’s pretty awesome as a coach when you have well-developed players, because the coaching becomes less instructional and more about how to use these players to best get results.”

Solidifying the Roaring Fork team effort has been a staunch backline and middle field that controls the tempo and limits its opponents’ scoring chances. The Rams have an impressive goals-against average this season of just 1.1, and junior goalkeeper Noah Wheeless has recorded 65 saves on the season.

Senior Johnny Delgado transferred to Roaring Fork last year, but had to wait it out on the junior varsity squad during the Rams’ 2018 semifinal run due to the Colorado High School Activities Association transfer eligibility rules.

“This has been my dream, and it’s been everyone’s dream since eighth grade that when you get to high school you can play for a state championship,” Delgado said.

“It’s been a huge team effort … and I’m proud of all the effort.”


The Rams know they’ll have to be on top of their game to dethrone perennial soccer powerhouse Kent Denver.

“No doubt, they’re one of the best in the state, and we need to be really focused,” Brennan said.

Forbes remembers that two of the Sun Devils’ top players were sophomore sensations two years ago when Roaring Fork lost 3-1 to Kent Denver in the 3A quarterfinals.

“They’re good players, and they have the resources behind them,” Forbes said. “So, that perseverance is going to be huge. If we can hang in there and show them what we can do, that’s going to be key.”

A strong contingent of Carbondale fans also plans to make the trip over to Denver for the big game. That support has also been part of the team’s success, Forbes said. 

“It’s a real testament to our community,” he said. “There are a lot of bonds that connect us demographically, with our Latino and Anglo cultures. This town does a really nice job of bringing those cultures together and bridging those gaps. And that shows in our team.”

Basalt, Rifle football set for rematch in second round of 2A playoffs

Calling it a rivalry game might not be accurate, at least today. After the weekend, it might be worth talking about.

The Basalt High School football team is set to host Rifle at 1 p.m. Saturday in the second round of the Class 2A state playoffs. The recent history between the teams only goes back a few seasons now, a series dominated by the Bears. But if the Longhorns get what they want Saturday, a real rivalry could result from the upset.

“It’s sort of like a rivalry,” Basalt junior receiver Rulbe Alvarado said. “It’s not like Aspen, but you always want to beat them no matter what just because they are a great team and they always bring it. So beating them would be really great.”

Rifle (10-0) is the top overall seed in this year’s bracket. The Bears rolled over No. 16 seed Englewood in the first round last week, winning 48-15. Basalt (8-2) is the tournament’s No. 9 seed, having gone on the road to knock off No. 8 The Classical Academy in the first round, escaping 13-7.

Basalt is the host team on Saturday due to the Colorado High School Activities Association’s rule that attempts to prevent teams from traveling back-to-back weeks in the playoffs. The Longhorns are certainly glad to be playing at home this weekend, although Rifle’s relative proximity will likely result in a large road crowd and a nearly neutral-site feeling.

The teams played as recently as Oct. 25 in Basalt, Rifle winning 21-9 after trailing early in the fourth quarter.

“There is going to be a huge crowd out here. I think the environment out here is going to be insane. Playoffs are just different,” BHS senior receiver Jackson Rapaport said. “We’ve never actually made it to the third round in football playoffs, so if we win this we are all trying to make history.”

Basalt is no stranger to the playoffs in recent years, although this is believed to only be the third time its ever played in the second round of the 2A state playoffs. The other two times came in each of the past two seasons, which ended with second-round losses to Bayfield (41-0 in 2017) and Platte Valley (46-9 in 2018).

Getting into the state semifinals would be uncharted territory for the Longhorns.

On the flip side, Rifle has long terrorized this side of the state with its dominance, most of it coming under longtime head coach Damon Wells and mostly in Class 3A. This includes a pair of state championships, the most recent coming in 2004.

“We are grateful we get another stab at them, because we feel like we missed our chances last time and we are here to come take it,” Rapaport said. “I don’t think we’ve ever beaten them. I think because of that they may be in our heads a little bit. But after that last game, we showed ourselves that we can beat them. I can’t speak for everybody else, but I know I’m ready.”

Rifle moved from 3A into the 2A Western Slope League last season, winning the first of now back-to-back WSL titles. Having been in different classifications all those years prior, the teams essentially never played each other, at least this century, according to the MaxPreps records. The teams finally came together for a two-game, non-league series in both 2016 and 2017, when Rifle was still 3A. The Bears won 48-34 and 34-14 before a 35-14 win in 2018 when they become league foes.

Having beaten Basalt four times in four years, Rifle will certainly be favored on Saturday. But the Longhorns feel they have closed the gap and want to prove to the state they belong and step into the semifinals for the first time.

“No matter who you play, there are only eight teams remaining,” Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said. “It’s a super special time for these kids, and the kids probably don’t realize it now, but these are going to be memories these kids are going to remember forever.”

The winner of Saturday’s game will face either No. 4 Delta or No. 5 Faith Christian in the semifinals.


Glenwood’s Kaitlyn Johnson named 4A WSL volleyball Player of the Year

Glenwood Springs High School senior Kaitlyn Johnson has been named the Class 4A Western Slope League volleyball Player of the Year, following the Demons’ league championship season.

Johnson, an outside hitter for the Demons, was one of three Glenwood Springs players selected for the All-Conference first team in voting by league coaches. Joining her were fellow seniors Emily Nilsson and Shanik Zambrano.

WSL Coach of the Year honors went to Wendy MacAskill, head coach for the Palisade Bulldogs.

Johnson helped lead Glenwood to a 20-5 overall record in a season that saw the Demons go 11-1 in the WSL to claim the league title over runner-up Palisade.

The Demons hosted one of the regional rounds of the 4A state playoffs last Saturday, just missing a chance to play in the state tournament this weekend with a 3-1 loss to D’Evelyn.

In her primary role on the court, Johnson recorded 198 kills on 489 attempts, for a kill percentage of 40.5%, according to season statistics reported to MaxPreps Colorado. She also served for 149 points with 45 aces and a serve percentage of 90.9%.

On the defensive side of the net, she had 15 blocks, behind Nilsson with 29, sophomore Charlotte Olszewski (honorable mention) with 25 and junior Kiah Larson with 20.

Zambrano and Nilsson also each served for 141 points for the Demons, and Olszewski led the team with 25 blocks.

4A WSL Volleyball All-Conference selections

Player of the Year — Kaitlyn Johnson, Sr., Glenwood Springs

Coach of the Year — Wendy MacAskill, Palisade

First Team: Kaitlyn Johnson, Emily Nilsson and Shanik Zambrano (Glenwood Springs); Kendall MacAskill and Caylee Chutka (Palisade); Sky Lieurance and Sophia Rinn (Eagle Valley); Tatum Hoffman, Carly Post and Sofi Petrovski (Battle Mountain); Marcada Baker and Lauren Ehrlich (Steamboat Springs)

Honorable Mention: Reese Goluba, Kenzie Winder and Charlotte Olszewski (Glenwood Springs); Maddy Valencia and MacKenzie Elizardo (Rifle); Magdalena Letek, Alesia Yanowich and Cassandra Miller (Palisade): Emma Judge (Battle Mountain); Olivia Fedrizzi (Eagle Valley); Taryn Wade and MacKenzie Westenskow (Summit County)


Roaring Fork boys soccer team bounces back to advance to first state championship

DENVER — As time dwindled in the second half, the Roaring Fork High School boys soccer team had a strong sense of deja vu.

The fifth-seeded Rams were tied at 0 with No. 1 Salida in the Class 3A state semifinals Wednesday night, and it looked like they were heading to overtime.

In the same round of the state championships last year, Roaring Fork battled to a shootout but fell 2-1, ending its season.

But the narrative changed dramatically this time around at All City Stadium.

The Rams came from behind late in the second half to tie the game. And in overtime, they were finally victorious.

Roaring Fork (15-2-1 overall) scored with 3 minutes, 32 seconds left in the extra period to upset the top seed 2-1 and secure their first bid to the championship game in school history.

“To tell you the truth, I was kind of consigning to another semifinal exit,” coach Nick Forbes said. “And then Ross (Barlow) pulls out a special moment.”

With 7:14 remaining in regulation, Salida (17-1-1) deflated the Rams’ hopes as junior Kai Brown scored on a wide open shot to take a 1-0 lead.

RF junior goalkeeper Noah Wheeless had come out of the goal to help defend, but Brown slipped by him and sailed the ball into the net.

“Once they scored I felt the whole team just come down,” said Wheeless, who had five saves on the night. “I felt terrible. I was like ‘that was my fault’ and everyone (said) ‘no, we’re a team. We’re gonna win and we’re gonna lose together.

“And then that magic just happened.”

The Rams began to push hard on offense and had a couple of opportunities, but they couldn’t capitalize. Then, sophomore Barlow was left open in the back post and he slipped the ball past the goalie into the right corner with 1:20 left to tie the game at 1.

As the overtime period began, both sides played with urgency to start, but Barlow said he and his teammates began to slow down and play smarter.

Roaring Fork started controlling the ball and opened up a couple shots on goal. After a shot by sophomore Jose Mercado Jr. missed, the Rams got a corner kick. While battling for the ball, a Salida player committed a penalty right outside the net.

Barlow got set up for the penalty kick in the box and with 3:32 left on the clock, he knocked the ball into the left corner for the win.

“I just took a couple deep breaths before that PK and put it in,” Barlow said.

Now, despite playing in their first championship game, the Rams are feeling confident, especially since they have only allowed one goal in the postseason and took 14 shots on goal against Salida.

Roaring Fork will take on defending 3A state champs Kent Denver — 4-2 winners over Atlas Preparatory School in the night cap Wednesday — at 11 a.m. Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.

“I think our defensive collectiveness is really strong, and you can see it when we play,” Forbes said. “They kind of had a little dip right at the end of the season, (but) right now they’re finding their best form and that’s all you can ask for as a coach is (to) find it when it matters.”


Photo Essay: Rifle rolls in their playoff opener

The Bears open their playoff run with a runaway 48-15 victory over the Englewood Pirates last Saturday at Bears Stadium

Hand in hand the Rifle Bears take the field for their first round game against Englewood last Saturday at Bears Stadium. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Rifle’s Ethan Mackley tries to rip the ball away from Englewood’s Yakes Daughtry during first quarter play last Saturday. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Rifle’s Carter Pressler snags a pass from Holden Stutsman out of the air beating Englewood defender Reuben Saucedo for a big gain in the second quarter. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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The Rifle High School student section cheers on their Bears during last weekends game at Bears stadium in Rifle. Rifle travels to Basalt for the second round of the 2A Football State playoffs. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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The Bears celebrate their 48-15 victory over Englewood last Saturday in Rifle. Rifle willl travel to Basalt to take on the Longhorns this Saturday with kickoff set for 1 p.m. (Kyle Mills / Citizen Telegram)
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Titans’ Wiescamp 3A WSL volleyball Player of Year in all-conference selections

Area Class 3A prep volleyball players were well-represented in the Western Slope League All-Conference selections, including the league’s Player of the Year.

Coal Ridge junior Taylor Wiescamp earned the top player honors in voting by league coaches, and was named to the 3A All-WSL first team along with two of her teammates. Joining her were fellow juniors Brecken Guccini and Phoebe Young.

Coach of the Year honors went to Heather Dunbar, head coach of the Cedaredge Bruins volleyball team.

Wiescamp was a big part of the Titans’ success this season, compiling 246 kills with a kill percentage of 56%, plus 168 service points and an ace percentage of 13.7%. On the defensive side, she led the team with 116 total blocks on the season

Coal Ridge won the WSL regular season title this fall, as the Titans went 8-1 through league play and 17-8 overall. Under the direction of head coach Aimee Gerber, the Titans earned a trip to the 3A regionals last weekend.

3A WSL Volleyball All-Conference selections

Player of the Year — Taylor Wiescamp, Coal Ridge

Coach of the Year — Heather Dunbar, Cedaredge

First Team: Taylor Wiescamp, Brecken Guccini and Phoebe Young (Coal Ridge); Lucia Penzel (Roaring Fork); Loghan Teter and Ryley Sackett (Grand Valley); Samantha Andrade and Karina Bauer (Basalt); Makayla Kehmeier, Kammie Henderson and Baylee Harris (Cedaredge); Jenna Wise (Gunnison); Haylin McCulloch and Raelee McCurdy (Delta).

Honorable Mention: Lyanna Nevarez, Ari Cornejo and Taylor Roberts (Coal Ridge); Letey Crownhart (Roaring Fork); Kirstin Medina (Grand Valley); Lecsi Glenn and Lexi Lowe (Basalt); Reganne McIntire, Hannah Carlson and Elizabeth Gilmore (Cedaredge); Erika Kuta and Jillian Carlson (Delta); Shaylee Mangum (Gunnison); Kat Goraika (Aspen); Jacie Evenson (Moffat County); Laura Galvan (Olathe).

Basalt football holds off Classical Academy, will face WSL foe Rifle in second round

COLORADO SPRINGS — Basalt High School coach Carl Frerichs preached all season the importance of winning the turnover battle — especially during playoff football.

Saturday, a turnover proved to be the spark the No. 9-seeded Longhorns needed for the eventual game-winning touchdown in a 13-7 win over No. 8 The Classical Academy to punch their ticket to the second round of the Class 2A playoffs.

Basalt will face No. 1 Rifle in the quarterfinals next week. The Longhorns faced Rifle just two weeks ago in a 21-9 2A Western Slope League loss. Rifle opened with a 48-15 win against Englewood Saturday.

On the first play from scrimmage Titan quarterback Sam Guilez fumbled on the handoff, recovered by the Longhorns on the Titan 23. Basalt moved the chains once before junior quarterback Matty Gillis sent a touchdown pass to senior Jackson Rapaport.

Aided by two TCA 15-yard penalties, Gillis led the Longhorns’ first charge down the field, ending with a 10-yard pass to Rapaport.

The Titans responded with a first-drive touchdown of their own thanks to a 2-yard rush by sophomore Cade Palmer. But it proved to be the last time TCA would find the end zone the rest of the way.

For more from this game, visit gazette.com.