Let’s go, Skiers (clap, clap, clap), let’s go, Skiers …
November 20, 2009
A berth in the state semifinals is on the line. We’ll be there. Will you?
Last week in Pagosa Springs, the Aspen football team pulled out a dramatic 46-41 win in its 2A state playoff opener. Now, the ninth-seeded Skiers return home to face arguably their stiffest test in program history. Top-seeded and unbeaten Faith Christian comes calling at 1 p.m. Saturday.
So, grab that blanket out of the trunk. Break out that ski jacket a few days early. Put on something black or red. Pack the Aspen High bleachers, clear those lungs and get ready to cheer.
Aspen needs the 12th man’s help.
“The opportunity to play at home in front of a great crowd is something not a lot of people get,” Skiers head coach Mike Sirko said Thursday. “We’re excited about the opportunity.”
Sure, the odds are stacked against Aspen. The Eagles, the 2004 and 2006 state champions, make the trip from Arvada after last week’s 34-7 rout of Bayfield. They are averaging more than 40 points a game, and its defense has posted shutouts in six of 11 games.
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The Eagles have also had the Skiers’ number of late, albeit on the hardwood. Faith ousted the Aspen High hoops team in the state semifinals in 2008, then the quarterfinals last March.
But it’s hard to bet against Sirko’s bunch. The venerable coach took over a program that won just six games during the previous three seasons and went 7-3 in 2007. All Aspen has done since is win 17 games.
It’s tough to count out tailback Nicky Ufkes, who is short in stature but long on talent and heart. The soft-spoken junior has torched opposing defenses this fall, piling up 2,353 yards on the ground – good for nearly 9 yards a carry. On the big stage last week, he rushed for 329 yards and four scores.
It’s also tough to count out senior Anderson Cole, a three-year starter who put past postseason struggles behind him with a stellar effort last week.
And it’s tough to count out a squad that has relished the underdog role, and has lost just once at home in the last three seasons.
There’s also this: The last time it battled a Western Slope team, in last year’s state semifinals against eventual champion Olathe, Faith Christian lost.
Will history repeat itself Saturday? Will the Skiers pull off the improbable and extend their dream season?
Could you really afford to miss this?