Aspen football looks to bounce back from first loss with winless Battle Mountain
Travis Benson doesn’t expect his players to stew too long after last week’s loss to Summit. The Aspen High School football coach has a lot of veteran leadership to work with, which comes with the ability to see beyond the short-term failures and stay focused on the long-term possibilities.
“When you have a strong senior class like we do and strong leadership, their vision is still very much intact on where they want to go and what they want to do,” Benson said. “It’s taking the small steps forward each week to be able to execute on that long-term vision.”
Aspen (1-1) is back on the road this week and will play Class 3A Battle Mountain (0-3) at 7 p.m. Friday in Edwards. The Skiers started the season with a wild, come-from-behind 42-21 home win over Colorado Springs Christian on Aug. 27, but in their return from experiential education last week lost 37-20 at Summit to drop to .500 this fall.
“It’s been a good week,” Benson said. “A lot of good practices. Getting back to the grinding stone, trying to find some rhythm to ourselves so we can put together some consistency.”
Benson said finding consistency will be key for the Skiers going forward. Aspen has shown signs of being a strong team on both sides of the ball, but has had trouble maintaining that level of play for longer stretches. The injury-riddled Huskies offer up a chance for the Skiers to build on the positives.
“The consistency part is the big one,” Benson said. “It all comes down to us as coaches getting the team prepared. That was a lot of the focus here this week was making sure we are prepared for all three phases of the game and being able to execute a game plan no matter what adversity comes across.”
Battle Mountain, which plays in a classification higher than Aspen, has had a rough go so far. The Huskies lost their opener 35-6 to Evergreen (No. 9 in 3A this week) before taking Basalt (No. 4 in 2A this week) to double overtime on Sept. 2 before losing, 40-34. Last week, BMHS lost 61-0 to Lutheran, which is No. 3 in 3A this week.
The Huskies were a feisty group in their visit to the Roaring Fork Valley a few weeks back, moving the ball well against a usually stout Longhorns’ defense but a few special teams miscues late let the upset bid slip away from them.
“They may be the best 0-3 team in the state of Colorado,” Benson said. “They are well coached. They run the double-wing offense. A little bit more of a wrinkle than Glenwood with doing it out of the gun. They provide a good amount of balance within their offense between run and pass. Defensively, they definitely get after it.”
Friday’s game in Edwards will be the “10th Mountain Game” according to Benson, which is meant to honor the 10th Mountain Division veterans who have strong historical ties to both the Aspen and Vail areas. The Skiers will wear special jerseys for the game and the winning team will earn a wooden ski as a trophy.
Elsewhere in the 2A Western Slope League this week, Basalt (3-0) plays at Glenwood Springs (3-0); Rifle (1-2) hosts Faith Christian (1-1); Delta (2-1) is at Montezuma-Cortez (1-1); Coal Ridge (0-2) hosts Steamboat Springs; and Moffat County (3-0) has a bye.
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