Basalt football holds off D’Evelyn for first-round playoff win
The Aspen Times
2A PLAYOFF Results
First round (seed in parenthesis)
(1)Bayfield 19, (16)Montezume-Cortez 14
(9)Faith Christian 9, (8)Kent Denver 7
(4)La Junta 40, (13)Berthoud 6
(5)Salida 33, (12)Aspen 20
(3)Basalt 26, (14)D’Evelyn 14
(6)Platte Valley 45, (11)Delta 21
(7)Rifle 27, (10)Eaton 0
(2)Resurrection Christian 28, (15)Alamosa 6
The Basalt High School football team played a nearly perfect first half and kept it together just enough in the second to hold on for a 26-14 win Saturday over visiting D’Evelyn in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs.
“The first half was definitely one of the best halves we’ve played so far this season,” Basalt senior Jake Reardon said. “I thought maybe some of the guys were expecting them to roll over and quit. We know that no team, especially in the playoffs, is just going to quit, especially a good team like D’Evelyn.”
Seeded No. 3, the Longhorns looked every bit the force they have been this season when they took a 21-0 lead into the halftime break. However, Basalt was held out of the end zone in the second half and the Jaguars, the No. 14 seed, began to claw their way back into the game.
It was a rematch of a 2016 first-round playoff game in which No. 9 seed D’Evelyn beat No. 8 seed Basalt, 27-20, on the BHS field. In that game, then-sophomore quarterback Trevor Reuss was thrown into the fire because of an injury to starter Miles Levy and nearly led them to a comeback win.
Reuss, now a senior, was happy to finish the deal this time around.
“To come back here in a similar situation to my sophomore year, it was amazing to see the level that we played at,” Reuss said. “They did get back into it. D’Evelyn is a good team and they did a good job of not hanging their heads and quitting. But despite that, we were able to hold them right at the end there.”
Basalt was stopped on downs inside the D’Evelyn 10-yard line on its first possession, but quickly got the ball back and a 1-yard QB sneak by Reuss gave the Longhorns a 7-0 lead after a quarter.
The score became 14-0 midway through the second quarter after another 1-yard Reuss run, and it became 21-0 thanks to a 1-yard Reardon touchdown run. These scores were set up by a woeful punting performance from D’Evelyn and a downright nasty Basalt defense, led by junior lineman Ernesto Lopez.
“I truly believe Ernie is one of the best 2A defensive lineman in the state. So he’s always going to be a beast. He’s tough,” Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said. “All those guys up front played hard and they just kept after him. We just kept getting pressure on that quarterback, which I think is really the cool when playing spread offenses. You can’t let him sit back there.”
The second half wasn’t nearly as pretty for the Longhorns. Outside of a short field goal by Chace Maytham that made it 24-0 midway through the third quarter, the BHS offense struggled to find much fluidity.
D’Evelyn finally put together a good drive late in the quarter and finished it with a 10-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Evan Willis to Conor Sampson. A failed 2-point conversion kept the score at 24-6.
“On that scoring drive it’s fourth-and-15 and we get roughing the passer. If we don’t get that roughing the passer, they probably don’t score tonight,” Frerichs said. “I’m such a believer at this level of football that momentum is really that key factor.”
The Jaguars carried that momentum into the fourth quarter. Not known for making mistakes, Reuss made a critical one when he threw an interception that gave D’Evelyn the ball inside the Basalt 30-yard line. A few plays later, Willis found Mac Brandon for a 16-yard touchdown and a successful conversion cut the score to 24-14 with 10 minutes still to play.
Basalt then put together the game’s crucial drive, chewing about nearly eight minutes of clock. The drive was stopped on downs at the D’Evelyn 1-yard line, but the Basalt defense did the rest, getting a safety with 2:33 to play and shutting down one final D’Evelyn possession in the closing minute.
The final minutes included more than a couple heated exchanges between players and a few personal foul penalties.
The win is only the second for the Longhorns in the Class 2A playoffs, their first coming a year ago when they beat Salida in the first round.
“It feels great, especially for how long this program went without a win before us,” Reardon said. “As long as we come prepared and play smarter football than we did here at the end of the game, I think we are as talented as anyone in the state. We just got to come and want to play.”
Reardon finished with 27 carries for 151 yards, which is about on par with his season average. Reuss was 4 of 9 for 75 yards. He rushed for 46 yards on nine carries.
D’Evelyn finishes its season with a 7-3 overall record.
Basalt, now 9-1 overall, will face No. 6 seed Platte Valley in the second round. Details for that game weren’t available Saturday evening, but they expect to play next Saturday, Nov. 10, in Basalt.
The undefeated Broncos beat Delta in the first round, 45-21. Platte Valley has twice won the state championship, one in 2007 and another in 2013. The last time they made the state title game was 2015, when they lost to Bayfield.
“I saw them in person when Bayfield beat them in the state championship. I went down to that game. So I’ve seen them in person,” Frerichs said of Platte Valley. “They have a heck of a program. They work really hard and they are really well coached. But I haven’t seen any film on them, so I really have no idea. But starting tonight, we’ll be getting to work.”