Longhorns return the favor, crush rival Roaring Fork
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado – Roaring Fork spoiled Basalt’s homecoming game last fall.
Friday, the Longhorns returned the favor in convincing fashion.
Quick-strike Basalt scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and added two more scores in the second half – both on plays of 60 or more yards from Sam Morrison. The Longhorns’ defense was equally as impressive, forcing seven turnovers in a lopsided 31-0 rout of their downvalley rivals.
“You can’t turn the ball over that many times and beat the Sisters of the Poor,” Roaring Fork head coach Greg Holley said. “[Turnovers] have been a real problem for us all year.”
The miscues started soon after kick-off for the home team. The Rams turned the ball over on consecutive plays in the opening quarter; quarterback Jayson Denton was intercepted by Erick Henriquez, then, after the Rams recovered a fumble, running back Zach Browning coughed up the ball and handed it right back to the Basalt.
The Longhorns, who took over at the Roaring Fork 5-yard line, scored on a 5-yard scamper from tailback Zach Mobilian to pull ahead, 7-0.
Later, after forcing the Rams into a three-and-out, Johnny Madrano bulled his way in from the 8 to cap a four-play, 61-yard Basalt drive and extend the lead to 14-0.
Mobilian set up the score with a 47-yard run up the right sideline on the drive’s first play, but the junior injured his ankle on the play. He came off field after one more rush and did not re-enter.
The Longhorns (3-2) struggled in his absence, punting three times and missing a 52-yard field goal in their final four drives of the opening half.
“We had [the distances] we wanted on third down, but we couldn’t complete those third-and-3’s and third-and-5’s,” Basalt head coach Carl Frerichs said. “It’s tough when you’re starting tailback goes down in 2A football, and you have to start moving guys around.”
Mobilian’s injury provided Morrison with a few opportunities to touch the ball. He responded with two game-changing plays in the second half.
On the first, five minutes into the third quarter, the senior wide receiver ran a 12-yard hitch, hauled in a pass from quarterback Scott Hoffman, eluded the corner and bolted 63 yards up the middle of the field for the score.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Morrison, lined up in the backfield for the first time all game, took a pitch from Hoffman on an option and sprinted 65 yards to the end zone, extending the lead to 31-0.
“I caught the ball, turned around and saw the corner and took off for the middle,” Morrison said of his receiving score. “There were a lot of [defenders], but I somehow weaved through them all.
“I first saw everybody on one side [on the touchdown run], so I knew I had to cut back and go through the middle again.
“This feels so good. You could tell in practice this was going to be a good week.
“I think we got mad and fired up.”
Basalt sure played that way on defense. Roaring Fork’s plan to attack the edges of the field with sweeps and the option was foiled by the Longhorns, who routinely flooded the opposing backfield. When Rams quarterbacks Clay Gross and Jayson Denton dropped back to pass, they were forced to scramble to avoid multiple defenders instead of keeping their eyes downfield.
The result was four turnovers and three punts in eight first-half possessions.
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Recreation and travel in Glenwood Canyon will be much more hazardous due to the potential rockfall and debris flows originating from destabilized ground, rock and weakened trees burned by the Grizzly Creek Fire last summer.