Aspen football’s comeback season finishes with defeat
The way Aspen High School football coach Tom Goode sees it, yesterday’s 38-22 loss to Roaring Fork High School wasn’t the last game of the school’s first football season in six years.
Rather, yesterday’s game marked the beginning of the 2001 season.
“The season doesn’t end here,” Goode said after the game yesterday. “The players know that the season starts right away, in about two weeks. It starts in the weight room.”
The Aspen junior varsity team, revived this season after the entire football program was abandoned in 1994, came close to posting its second win of the season yesterday when they whittled Roaring Fork’s lead to 30-22 in the third quarter.
Instead, the Aspen team was handed another loss – for an overall record of 1-7 – after a more experienced Roaring Fork team added another TD late in the game.
“The effort was great,” Goode said of the Aspen team. “The offense moved the football, but defensively we have a lot to learn. We’re easy to fool on the outside and we’re still not making tackles that I’d like to see us making.”
Aspen trailed Roaring Fork 16-0 going into the second quarter, but senior fullback Jeremy Young helped change that. Young rushed for a crucial first down deep in Roaring Fork territory, and then senior quarterback Shay Stutsman connected with Young for a 6-yard TD pass in a fourth-and-goal situation. Aspen’s 2-point conversion failed, and the score remained 16-6 at halftime.
On Aspen’s opening play from scrimmage in the third quarter, Roaring Fork quarterback Jake DeWolfe (also a defensive end) and lineman Aaron Luttrell pressured Stutsman out of the pocket and forced a fumble that Luttrell recovered on the run. He charged 30 yards for a Roaring Fork TD to put his team up 24-6 following the 2-point conversion.
On Aspen’s next possession, sophomore running back Josh Lackey peeled off several big gains leading Aspen down the field. On fourth-and-9 at the Roaring Fork 24-yard line, Stutsman completed an 18-yard strike to freshman Will Otte. And on fourth-and-goal – after Roaring Fork stuffed three Aspen TD rushing tries – Lackey ran in a 1-yard TD to reduce the deficit to 24-14, with a Young 2-point conversion run.
Chad Minor capped off another lengthy drive for Roaring Fork with a 16-yard TD rush with 2:54 to play in the third quarter to make the score 30-14. But again Aspen rallied back, dwindling the margin to 30-22 on a 15-yard TD pass from Stutsman to Packy Westfeldt. Roaring Fork managed to score on its next possession and ground out most of the clock to win by a final score of 38-22.
“Aspen didn’t quit,” noted Roaring Fork assistant coach Rock Leonard after the game.
“They never gave up. They did well out there, they kept fighting.”
Coach Goode added: “The guys played their hearts out and it was a great season. We’ve learned so much, and we’re ready to go in the future and we’re all looking forward to it.
“We were in the game the whole way,” Goode continued. “It could have gone our way but I have to compliment Carbondale. They played a heck of a football game.”
The Aspen High freshman players will play Basalt’s freshmen Wednesday at 4 p.m. in Aspen. The upperclassmen on the team are done for the season, Goode said – that is, until weight training begins in a couple of weeks.
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