Basalt pulls away from Coal Ridge for 34-0 win
Post Independent Contributor
The Basalt Longhorns scored three late first-half touchdowns to break open a scoreless stalemate for much of the first 30 minutes of play, pulling away from the Coal Ridge Titans for a 34-0 Western Slope League win on Homecoming Friday night at Peach Valley.
With the game deadlocked at 0-0 and 2:28 showing on the first half clock, Basalt junior quarterback Matty Gillis connected with senior wide receiver Jackson Rappaport on a 10-yard touchdown pass to give the Longhorns the initial score of the game. The point after kick by sophomore Carlos Palomares gave the visitors a 7-0 advantage.
The Titans, who had played a masterful defensive game and went toe-to-toe with the state-ranked Longhorns, then committed two critical miscues that would end up going a long way toward costing them the ballgame.
On the kickoff following the Basalt touchdown, Coal Ridge failed to scoop up the loose ball as it was bounding near the Titan end zone and out of bounds. The Titan return man let the ball go, and alertly, Basalt pounced on the free kick at the 6-yard line. On the very next play, sophomore running back Cole Dombrowski ran 6 yards for the second Basalt touchdown of the night. The converted PAT made it 14-0.
With just 1:47 until intermission and Coal Ridge in possession of the ball, the Titans fumbled the football at their own 34-yard line. Gillis then made the score 20-0 in favor of Basalt by taking a quarterback sneak over the goal line in the north end zone. The intermission score stood at 20-0 following a Palomares PAT miss.
Coal Ridge, which had shown some offensive life in the first half with Karsen DuBois at quarterback and senior fullback Damian Spell reeling off good chunks of yardage for first downs, was never able to recover and regain their footing to make a second-half charge at the Longhorns. Behind some solid blocking from the offensive line, and the rushing legs of Spell, Dubois, Kobe Wild, and Jordan Grant, Coal Ridge mounted two impressive, and time consuming drives in the third quarter, only to give the ball back to Basalt on failed fourth down attempts on both occasions.
“Our team is very young, and a work in progress, but we feel good about the future,” said Coal Ridge Head Coach Paul Downing following the game. “The turnovers we had early in the game have been the story of our season to this point. We’ve found ways to make mistakes at key moments in games and it has cost us. At times, we have had trouble recovering emotionally from those mistakes.”
Basalt tacked on two fourth-quarter touchdowns to account for the final tally of the game. First, Rappaport scampered 34 yards to make it 27-0, then Dombrowski hit the goal line from 6 yards out to complete the evening’s scoring.
Basalt (6-0, 2-0 WSL) will face a tough conference test next Friday night when they will travel to face the Delta Panthers. Coal Ridge (1-5, 0-2 WSL) also has to hit the road for a Friday night date in Craig to take on Moffat County.
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