Longhorns end losing skid against rival Aspen with 14-0 win
BASALT – Sixteen games is a long time – an entire season plus a few games.
It’s a time the Basalt Longhorns can put behind them now.
The Longhorns downed Class 2A Western Slope Conference rival Aspen 14-0 at the Basalt Middle School field to end a 16-game losing streak and extend Aspen’s losing streak to three.
“All I’ve got to say is we’ve been busting our butts for three years and we finally put it all together,” said Basalt senior Tyler Whitmire. “Everything we ever worked on in practice came together for us.”
After a scoreless first half dominated by defense, Basalt (1-0 WSL, 1-2 overall) drove inside the Aspen 20-yard line for the third time in the game. It looked like the Longhorns would come away empty-handed again when Aspen’s Tyrone Gartner picked off sophomore quarterback Conor Meyer in the end zone. An offsides penalty on Aspen (0-1, 0-3), however, negated the interception and kept the drive alive for the Longhorns.
On third-and-16 Meyer found Whitmire for a 19-yard touchdown with 5 minutes, 18 seconds left in the third quarter. The touchdown was the second of the season for the Longhorns and all they would need for the win.
“I think what our guys realized was that us being shut out in the first half was a victory for Aspen,” Basalt coach Kent Shorten said. “We had to be a little more determined.”
Basalt stymied Aspens rally on the ensuing drive with a third-down sack by seniors Derrick McFarlin and Dustin Held.
A muffed punt pinned Basalt inside it’s own 20, but Whitmire ripped off a 70-yard run to the Aspen 17. Junior Ross Unglert converted a fourth-and-2 play from the 9-yard line and capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead with 10:38 remaining in the game.
“On that fourth down play Unglert came to me and said, `coach, give me the ball, I can make it,'” Shorten said.
Whitmire led the Longhorns in both rushing and receiving with 83 yards on the ground and 46 receiving yards. Sophomore Clayton Peetz finished the day with 64 yards on the ground and Unglert tallied 49.
While the Longhorn offense stepped up in the second half, it was the defense that controlled the pace of the contest. Aspen didn’t cross midfield in the first half and its deepest penetration in the game was to the Basalt 43.
Held notched a pair of sacks in the game and A.J. Summers spent plenty of time in the Aspen backfield. Much of the credit, however, goes to defensive tackles McFarlin and Erich Shutz.
“Shutz had a great game and McFarlin was the other defensive tackle,” Shorten said. “They kept our linebackers clean all night.”
Basalt continues its conference schedule Saturday against Gunnison at 1 p.m.
Roaring Fork 33, Olathe 13
OLATHE – The Roaring Fork Rams opened their Class 2A Western Slope Conference Football slate with a 33-13 victory over Olathe here Friday night.
Dan Markoya and Evan Carmichael – playing in his first game of the season, split time at quarterback – but their contributions didn’t stop when they weren’t taking the snaps.
Markoya threw for 94 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, then made three catches for 103 yards and another touchdown in the second half. Carmichael was 3-for-5 for 101 and a touchdown passing and also rushed six times for 91 yards and a TD.
“It was really fun this week,” Roaring Fork head coach Tory Jensen said. “We had lots of tools at our disposal.”
And, of course, the team’s most reliable tool was again James Leonard. The junior running back finished the night with 143 yards on 16 carries running behind a solid offensive line.
Roaring Fork improves to 1-0 in the WSL Slope and 2-1 overall. Olathe falls to 0-1, 1-2.
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