Preps: Basalt football can’t overcome Brush in first round of playoffs; AHS volleyball out
The Basalt High School football team’s stay in the postseason was short and far from sweet. The No. 10 seed Longhorns fell behind early and could never get back into it in a 43-23 loss at No. 7 Brush in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs on Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve been better, but the kids battled,” BHS coach Carl Frerichs said. “It doesn’t really matter if it’s playoffs or the normal season, the high school momentum is huge when it starts to go down the wrong way and it went down the wrong way pretty fast. We got ourselves into a hole.”
A coin flip on paper, Brush looked superior from the start. After forcing an early BHS punt, the Beetdiggers quickly took a 7-0 lead not even three minutes in when running back Ty Griffith caught a short pass from quarterback Alejandro Maltos-Garcia. The hole got deeper barely two minutes later when a bad snap on a BHS punt resulted in a safety and Brush led 9-0 after a quarter.
Less than a minute into the second quarter, Brush’s lead grew to 16-0 on an easy 10-yard run by Griffith.
Among the first-half highlights for Basalt was an interception by star senior Sam Sherry, which helped set up a 24-yard field goal by senior Carlos Palomares to make it 16-3 with less than three minutes to play until the break.
Before the Longhorns could get to halftime, however, a busted coverage left Ivan Cardenas wide open, the end result a 44-yard touchdown catch that made it 23-3 at halftime.
“We feel like we could have done some better things, but we need to give some credit to Brush. They did a lot of things great and they deserve to win,” Frerichs said. “I was proud of our effort for four quarters. Just too many mistakes with coaching and with playing. You are not going to win a playoff game without each phase.”
Both teams started the third quarter somewhat sluggish before Basalt scored via a 2-yard run from junior tailback Cooper Crawford to give BHS some hope down 23-10 heading into the final quarter.
The wheels fully came off in the fourth, however. Griffith scored on another short run — the extra point was blocked — to make it 29-10 with less than eight minutes to play.
Basalt junior quarterback Kade Schneider answered by finding Sherry on a 68-yard TD connection, the highlight of the BHS offense on Saturday, to cut it to 29-16 after also having an extra point blocked.
Brush closed with an 18-yard touchdown run by Cesar Hinojos with less than four minutes remaining that made it 36-16. Counter to the situation, the Beetdiggers then surprised Basalt with an onside kick and recovered it, and then tossed a 36-yard TD pass to Hinojos to shut the door on any BHS rally.
Basalt did get one final score, an 8-yard TD run by senior tailback Gavin Webb with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
Brush (8-2) moves on to face No. 2 seed Resurrection Christian in the second round; the Cougars (8-1) won 56-15 over No. 15 La Junta on Saturday.
Basalt finishes the season 7-3 overall. It was the sixth straight trip to the postseason for the program.
“It’s so hard anytime you see another senior class graduating that I’m so proud of. They do so much,” Frerichs said. “They put so much into this. We truly are a family, so it’s tough to see these guys move on. It’s kind of the coaching cliché, but it’s 100% true: there is only one team happy at the end. I wish we would have got a few more weeks together, but there is only one team happy at the end.”
The only team remaining from the 2A Western Slope League is No. 4 seed Delta, a 45-14 winner over No. 13 Alamosa in the first round. The Panthers will play No. 12 University in the second round, which knocked off No. 5 Moffat County on Saturday, 28-14.
Aspen volleyball season comes to an end
The Aspen High School volleyball season also ended on Saturday with a loss to Lamar in regional play. The Skiers were competing in the postseason for the first time since 2018, drawing the No. 23 seed in the 36-team regional field.
Aspen opened its three-team region by beating No. 35 Stargate School, 3-0, by set scores of 25-12, 25-9 and 25-21.
But facing No. 2 seed and region host Lamar in the winner-take-all final, Lamar rolled to an easy 3-0 win. Set scores were 25-12, 25-7 and 25-14. Lamar also beat Stargate School 3-0 with set scores of 25-6, 25-20 and 25-9.
The Savages, who are a perfect 25-0, will be one of the 12 teams competing in the Class 3A state tournament this coming week.
Aspen finishes the season 17-6 overall, the team’s best mark since going 18-7 in 2018. The Skiers finished second in the 3A Western Slope League behind only champion Delta.
Note: The Aspen High School boys soccer team’s season came to an end last week with a 1-0 overtime loss to DSST: Green Valley Ranch on the Evie Dennis Campus in the first round of the 3A state tournament in Denver. It was Aspen’s first playoff appearance since 2018. The No. 19-seeded Skiers finished the season 9-6-1 overall, their best record since going 11-6 in 2014.
Calendar turns toward winter
Saturday’s losses by Basalt football and Aspen volleyball mean the fall prep season is over between the two schools and the winter season is effectively here.
Winter sports practices officially get underway on Monday, Nov. 15, with the first contests for most sports allowed as early as Nov. 29.
Area winter sports include boys and girls basketball, ice hockey, girls swimming, wrestling and skiing for both alpine and nordic.
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