Zimmerman lifts Cards past ‘Horns

PARACHUTE — Basalt High School’s football team had some fourth-quarter comeback opportunities. Tanner Zimmerman made sure those didn’t last.

The senior running back finished with 272 yards rushing, 194 of them coming in the second half, to help No. 6-ranked Grand Valley rally from a small third-quarter deficit for a 41-20 Class 2A Western Slope Conference victory.

“We’re not about letting teams back into games, but I give a lot of credit to them for playing the way they did,” Zimmerman said. “But I’ve got to give a lot of credit to my guys for finishing.”

Zimmerman had second-half touchdown runs of six, 16, 54 and six yards for the Cardinals (6-1, 4-1 WSC), who held a 12-0 halftime lead but trailed 13-12 halfway through the third quarter. That’s when Zimmerman came up big for Grand Valley, helping spark a drive that shifted the game’s momentum for good.

“We came out pretty flat in the first part of the second quarter, and it showed,” Zimmerman said. “We’ve got to fix that when we play against state-playoff caliber teams.”

The Longhorns (3-3, 3-2) got a big second-half performance from quarterback Matt Williams, who hit the first five passes he threw in the fourth quarter to keep Basalt in it. But an interception from safety Tyler Scott with 2 minutes, 59 seconds remaining, which followed Zimmerman’s 54-yard scoring scamper with 3:13 to go, sealed the game.

Basalt rallied quickly from a two-touchdown deficit to take the lead early in the third quarter. Bert Garcia’s 12-yard touchdown run from the Wildcat formation pulled Basalt within 12-7 after Garcia’s point-after kick. Basalt recovered a fumble from Scott two plays later, and Garcia followed with another 12-yard TD run at the 7:13 mark to put the Longhorns up 13-12.

That’s when Zimmerman took over. He carried the ball on five of Grand Valley’s six plays during the Cardinals’ ensuing drive, capping the 80-yard march with a six-yard TD run.

Less then five minutes later, Zimmerman capped the Cardinals’ next drive with a 16-yard scoring run with 11:52 remaining, putting Grand Valley up by two scores.

Basalt put together another comeback, driving from the Longhorns’ 10, but it was stopped on a lost fumble on the 13-yard line.


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