Aspen offense comes alive late in 34-21 non-league loss at Steamboat Springs |

Aspen offense comes alive late in 34-21 non-league loss at Steamboat Springs

No. 5-ranked Basalt had a bye this week

Aspen High School senior quarterback Nate Thomas winds up to throw against Gunnison on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022, in the season opener on the AHS turf.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The Aspen High School football team closed out non-league play on Friday night with a 34-21 loss at Steamboat Springs. All of the Skiers’ points came late with the game well out of reach.

The Sailors led 6-0 after a quarter behind a pair of field goals before a short touchdown pass early in the second quarter made it 13-0. What was arguably the biggest play of the game came with just over five minutes to go in the first half with Steamboat’s Jack Fortna intercepted a pass and returned it roughly 90 yards for the touchdown, giving SSHS a 20-0 lead at the break.

Another TD pass in the third quarter was followed by a short TD run to open the fourth to make it 34-0 in favor of the Sailors.

Backup quarterback Tanner Benson and receiver Judd Gurtman provided an offensive spark for the Skiers at the end. It was Gurtman’s long kickoff return that set up a Benson to Gurtman TD pass and catch from 15 yards out that got AHS on the scoreboard with just under 10 minutes to play.

Benson would get two more TD passes, both going to tight end Henry Hurd, the third coming on the final play of the game from about 20 yards out.

Steamboat, which also plays in Class 2A with Aspen but in a different league, improved to 3-1 overall, its only loss coming 33-20 on Sept. 1 to Aspen’s league foe, No. 10-ranked Moffat County.

Aspen dropped to 1-3 overall, its lone win having come last week over Battle Mountain, 15-8 on the AHS turf. The Skiers now will head into league play with a trip to Coal Ridge coming on Friday. They’ll return home on Oct. 7 to host league newcomer Grand Valley.

No. 5-ranked Basalt had a bye this week. The Longhorns (4-0) will open league play at home on Friday night against Grand Valley.