Skiers put up video game numbers in rout of Middle Park to open season
Aspen High School junior Noah Hollander took the opening kickoff back for a touchdown. The Skiers essentially never stopped scoring after that.
The AHS football team unofficially amassed more than 700 yards of total offense en route to a dazzling 80-50 victory over Middle Park in the 2017 season opener Friday in Aspen.
The Skiers only scored 160 points in all of 2016, going 2-7, getting them halfway to both their win total and point total from last season after only one game.
“That is Aspen football right there. It just clicked,” AHS senior quarterback R.J. Peshek said. “That was a fun thing to be a part of. I wasn’t expecting that.”
Peshek unofficially finished with 280 rushing yards and six touchdowns. His passing numbers were equally as impressive — 19 of 30 for 278 yards and two scores. On top of his phenomenal kickoff return results, Hollander had 171 yards receiving and another score.
Sophomore running back Trey Fabrocini tacked on 94 yards and two touchdowns rushing.
“I expected a lot of things. I wasn’t sure 80-50 was one of them,” AHS coach Karson Pike said. “I think the secret to our success is the group came together. There is not one guy that feels left out or not part of the group.”
Neither offense had any resistance in the first half. The game was tied 6-6, 20-20 and 28-28 before going to halftime tied 34-34. Both teams went to the break desperately searching for an answer on defense.
“I was happy because we challenged them in halftime and it was only 16 second half points,” Pike said of his defense. “That’s obviously going to be the emphasis next week, because not every game is going to be offense, who gets the stop to win. So we need to shore that up a little bit. But in nine practices it’s hard to get good at tackling.”
The teams went back and forth to a 50-50 tie before the AHS defense finally put the clamps down. After a 33-yard touchdown pass from Peshek to Hollander made it 56-50 late in the third quarter, a Middle Park fumble turned the tide of the game. Aspen capitalized with a 22-yard touchdown run from Fabrocini and the game’s first two-score advantage.
Middle Park’s next drive ended on a failed fourth down attempt, and Aspen answered with a 54-yard touchdown run from Peshek for a 72-50 lead. After another fourth down stop on defense, AHS scored once more, another long touchdown run from Peshek.
A successful 2-point conversion gave the Skiers 80 for the game.
“I just want to give a big shout-out to the offensive line. This game was built on their backs,” Peshek said. “That 80-point game was for those guys. It started with them. I’m extremely grateful for those guys. Brothers protecting my life right there.”
Aspen (1-0) next will play at Arvada on Sept. 2. Middle Park (0-1) plays Friday at Estes Park.
“Now we have the long trip with the distractions, so we got to figure out how to mentally be ready for that,” Pike said.
Also playing out of the 2A Western Slope League on Friday, Basalt lost 34-14 to Rifle, Steamboat Springs lost 34-9 to Battle Mountain, and Moffat County lost 40-14 to Rawlins, Wyoming. On Thursday, Delta lost 3-0 at Durango. Delta was ranked preseason No. 4 in 2A, while Durango was receiving votes to be ranked in 3A.
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