Rifle falls to undefeated Basalt, 22-7; and other weekend preps results

Basalt senior Trevin Beckman runs the ball against Rifle defenders Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Rifle football has faced some tall tests so far this season. Dangerous teams, like Glenwood Springs, Moffat County and Delta. 

With the exception of the Panthers, each game against these teams for Rifle ended in a close loss via touchdown or less. Meanwhile, the Bears beat teams like Brush and Montezuma-Cortez.

“This is probably the longest gauntlet I’ve been on with a team,” Rifle head coach Ryan Whittington said.

On Friday night, the Bears had to take on another powerhouse: undefeated Basalt. Though the Longhorns won, it was by a conservative 22-7 differential.

A host of Rifle Bears tackle Basalt senior Cooper Crawford on Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Whittington said his team, for the most part, played disciplined football. Had it not been for a few big plays executed by Basalt, it could’ve been a different ball game.

“That was the three-play difference in the game, and sometimes you have to stop those plays to be able to get yourself a little bit closer,” he said. “But, we’ll watch the tape, we’ll learn from it and we’ll get better.”

The usual suspects were at it for the Longhorns. Basalt running back Cooper Crawford — a 6 foot, 3-inch, 220-pound senior who also plays linebacker — was good for an-up-the-gut touchdown at 6:39 in the second quarter.

Longhorns senior quarterback Kade Schnieder connected with trusty senior receiver Luke Rapaport for an 18-yard touchdown catch.

Longhorns senior Will Keating also hit two field goals.

Basalt head coach Carl Frerichs said his kids played their hearts out.

“I thought coach (Mitch) Levy and coach (Clayton) Peetz did an amazing job on the offense,” he said. “I just think our kids are flying around, playing great football.”

Basalt receiver Dylan Madden gets tackled by a Rifle defender on Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

But, tip your hat to Rifle defense. They held the potent offense of Basalt to a field goal on the game’s opening drive. They also caused the Longhorns to punt multiple times throughout the night.

Every time Crawford got the ball, it was as if the entire Bears line were on top of him. Whenever Schneider dropped back to pass, his receivers were well covered and he was forced to toss to the sidelines.

Rifle senior running back Nicholas Saldivar rewarded his defense. At 11:31 in the second quarter, Saldivar took a hand-off from his own 27-yard line, juked his way past a host of Longhorns and sprinted for a 73-yard touchdown run.

“It was incredible, man,” Whittington said of Saldivar’s play. “Nico made a great cut, the O-line did a great job blocking, and he bustled down the sidelines.” 

Trialing 7-9, the Bears created a chance to take the lead. After forcing a Longhorns punt, they’d march downfield to Basalt’s 32-yard line. But an offensive holding call on the Bears kept them from the end zone.

Rifle senior Nicholas Saldivar evades Basalt defenders and moments later breaks away for a long touchdown run Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

Making another push early in the fourth quarter, Bears junior quarterback Logan Gross was intercepted by Longhorns sophomore Taylor Hays. This easily could’ve led to a touchdown had intended Bears senior receiver Brandon Marques not been picked off. 

The loss gives the Bears a 2-4 overall, 0-2 league record. They currently sit in fifth place in 2A League 6, while Basalt is at the top. The Bears are 12th in all of 2A.

But, the Bears still have a fighting chance for postseason glory. They face Aspen, Grand Valley and Coal Ridge to close out the final three games of the season.

“Right now, we’re sitting 12th, and we just lost to an undefeated team, so your (ratings power index) is not going to hurt much,” Whittington said. “The reality is, I think if you win these three games you’re in.

Rifle receiver Joel Valencia blocks a Basalt defender Friday.
Ray K. Erku/Post Independent

“But, we’ve got to make sure we’re staying together, we’re doing the right things, staying positive and keep working hard to become the best we possibly can be.”

Basalt, now 6-0 and sitting in sixth place overall in 2A, prepares for a joust with a 5-1 overall, 2-0 league team in Moffat County. The Bulldogs are led by senior stud running back Evan Atkin.

“They’re doing a great job over there. (Evan Atkin) is one heck of a player,” Frerichs said. “But, we’re gonna enjoy this game tonight, and we’ll get ready for Moffat tomorrow.”

“But, we’re glad to be right there for the league championship next week.”

Rifle takes on Aspen away at 7 p.m. Friday.




  • Roaring Fork (Homecoming) beat Olathe, 42-6 (Rams rushing touchdowns: Zane Garcia and Max Bollock, 2 each; Oscar Barraza and Cooper Chacos, 1 each)
  • Grand Valley beat Aspen, 29-7 (Cardinals touchdowns: Brandon Garcia, 2; Colton Clark, 1
  • Coal Ridge lost to Moffat County, 48-6
  • Glenwood Springs, game scheduled Thursday canceled



  • Coal Ridge lost 3-1 to Olathe (22-25, 19-25, 27-25, 20-25)
  • Grand Valley lost 3-0 to Plateau Valley (16-25, 12-25, 21-25)


  • Rifle beat Grand Junction, 3-1 (25-15, 25-11, 22-25, 25-11)
  • Grand Valley lost 3-0 to Meeker (25-10, 25-14, 25-14)


  • Glenwood Springs lost 3-2 to Steamboat Springs (27-25, 20-25, 25-21, 20-25, 10-15)



  • Rifle beat Durango in a double header on the road, 7-2 and 11-5
  • Basalt won 15-5, and lost 19-7 in a double header vs. Gunnison


  • Rifle swept Montezuma-Cortez in doubleheader, 11-7 and 18-8



  • Roaring Fork beat Rifle, 3-2 (RF goals: Emiliano Magana, 2; Fernando Rodrigues, 1. Rifle goals: Eduardo Espino, 2)


  • Coal Ridge tied Vail Mountain, 1-1


  • Roaring Fork beat Delta, 6-0 (Goals: Emiliano Magana, 3; Eli Cohen, Jacob Barlow and Gabe Serson, 1 each)
  • Rifle beat Aspen, 5-0 (Goals: Adrian Valencia and Miguel Torres, 2 each; Yahir Marquez, 1)

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