The fall sports season draws ever closer to its conclusion, with only Basalt football and Aspen spirit having events remaining on the calendar.
The Basalt Longhorns face their toughest challenge this weekend in the state quarterfinals against defending champion Eaton following a validating 45-24 home win on their own turf last Saturday against Woodland Park.
The Longhorns never trailed, with a key defensive stand in the second quarter to take a 10-point edge into halftime. Their first-team defense did not allow a touchdown in the final eight minutes of the second quarter and through the entire third quarter, as well as into the fourth before the second-team took over.
Offensively, senior quarterback Kade Schneider came up just one yard short of 300 in the air, completing 20 of 27 passes with two touchdowns. The Longhorns used an expanded passing game to show their balanced offense and make it harder for following opponents — like Eaton — to come up with a game plan against them.
Senior Dylan Madden was the main recipient of the passing game priority, hauling in 10 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown. Fellow senior Luke Rapoport also caught a TD pass.
Schneider added a rushing touchdown as did junior Noah Johnston; senior Cooper Crawford had two.
Johnston led the team with 18 total tackles, including 11 solo. Senior Ben Limongelli had nine tackles, forcing two fumbles and recovering one.
As the No. 7 seed, Basalt knocked off the No. 10 Panthers. Their reward is traveling east to take on the two-time defending state champs. An upset there would bring the Longhorns back home for the semifinals against either No. 14 Rifle or No. 11 Montezuma-Cortez.
Elsewhere on the gridiron, Glenwood Springs entered its final regular season game on Friday seeking a needed win at Palisade, as the Demons sat at No. 16 in the seeding index, the final playoff spot in 3A. They fell 42-8 to the Bulldogs, dropping out of a playoff spot. With the official seeding index by CHSAA hidden upon completion of the season, it’s unknown where they finished in the rankings. By RPI, Glenwood sat in 22nd in the CHSAA rankings.
The Demons finished their first season under Tory Jenson 5-5 with a 2-3 league record. Roaring Fork and Aspen each failed to qualify for the playoffs.
The valley’s local teams that advanced to regionals all bowed out before making the final state bracket.
In 3A, Aspen and Roaring Fork each snuck out a win against a higher seeded opponent but fell to their regional hosts. No. 33 Aspen bested No. 21 Bennett 3-1 but was swept by host Faith Lutheran. No. 26 Roaring Fork fell to host No. 11 Resurrection Christian 3-0 before sweeping No. 14 The Vanguard School.
The Skiers completed the year at 11-11, going 3-4 in league. The Rams went 15-10 and 4-3 in the Western Slope League.
In 4A, Glenwood Springs entered as a middle seed in regionals at No. 22. They were upset by No. 34 Riverdale Ridge 3-1 before being swept by host No. 3 Windsor.
The Demons went 15-10 with a 4-6 league record.
Roaring Fork’s state title defense bid came to an end in the quarterfinals as the No. 5 seed fell at No. 4 Liberty Common 3-0 in a game played at Fossil Ridge on Saturday.
The Eagles scored once in the first half and twice in the second to put the final nail in the Rams’ coffin. Senior goalkeeper made seven saves and allowed two goals in his 78 minutes played, according to MaxPreps.
Roaring Fork previously fell to Liberty Common 6-1 in Carbondale on Sept. 17.
The Rams finished 15-3 overall and went 7-1 in league play. Coal Ridge, the league champion and the only team to beat Roaring Fork in league play, remains in the playoffs as the No. 3 seed.
Seeking a repeat of their 2021 3A pom state championship, Aspen’s dance team seeks more hardware on Friday in the spirit state championships on Friday and Saturday in Denver. The championships will be held at the National Western Complex and Denver Coliseum.