Aspen, Basalt collide on the gridiron today | AspenTimes.com

Aspen, Basalt collide on the gridiron today

Steve Benson
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Following a big win on the road last Friday, Aspen football hosts rival Basalt in their home-opener today at 4 p.m.

“We’re looking forward to playing a conference game, it’s a very healthy rivalry,” said Aspen head coach Tom Goode. “They’re a much-improved team, coaching- and performancewise.”

Goode said the rain and snow created some adversity in practices this week, but nothing the Skiers couldn’t handle.

“It was kind of tough getting in the workouts we had planned, but we’re ready to go,” he said.

On a rain-soaked field last week, Aspen (1-1), scored two defensive touchdowns, toppling Grand Valley 26-20. Jake Welsh led the way on both sides of the ball, rushing for a touchdown and scoring another off a punt he blocked in the third quarter.

Grand Valley’s defense was focused on tailback Dusty Stutsman, Goode said, which opened up some rushing lanes for Welsh, the starting fullback. Stutsman still rushed for close to 100 yards and a touchdown.

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After losing starting quarterback Conor Meyer in their opening game to Meeker, Basalt (0-2) has yet to win a game, losing to Glenwood Springs last Friday. Meyer, who also played outside linebacker, dislocated his shoulder making a tackle on defense.

Converted fullback Kaleb Nye has taken over the reins as quarterback, and, given the short notice, Basalt head coach Forrest Grosh said he has filled in admirably.

“He did good stepping in for the lack of time and reps that he’s gotten so far this season,” Grosh said.

Both teams are young and therefore have team-depth issues. Last week against Glenwood Springs, Basalt was down 13-0 at the half, battling in what was still a close contest.

“The game was going great, the team had a lot of confidence and was playing really hard,” Grosh said following the loss last week. “But at the end of the third quarter, depth started to hurt us: Guys were getting tired and dinged-up. We have a lot of young and inexperienced guys.”

While the Longhorns got shut out 32-0, Grosh said his players remain positive and are looking forward to today’s game with Aspen.

“They’re still eager for the rest of the season,” Grosh said. “I definitely feel this is a game we have a good chance at.”

Said Goode: “Our guys are excited. We’re looking forward to seeing a good community turnout.”

Kickoff is at 4 p.m., at the Aspen Middle School field.

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