Aspen football rakes in postseason awards
December 11, 2008
ASPEN ” Beau Seguin had much to prove in 2008.
So, too, did the Aspen football team, which was eager to show that 2007’s return to the postseason after a 33-year hiatus was a sign of things to come, not a fluke.
Consider this past season a success on both fronts. Seguin, sidelined for the bulk of the 2007 season because of injury, piled up nearly 1,500 yards to lead Aspen to an 8-3 record and a 2A playoff berth.
For their efforts, the Skiers, who finished third in the Western Slope, were well represented on postseason conference awards lists. Six players (Seguin, Anderson Cole, Andrew Goldberg, Curtis Berklund, Tommy Mines and Nicky Ufkes) were first-team selections. Six others (Trevor Watson, Cooper LeVan, Taylor Mayer, Walker Moriarty, Travis VanDomelen and Walker Hill) were honorable mentions.
“You feel good about it because of the fact that these kids really deserved recognition,” Aspen head coach Mike Sirko said Wednesday. “It was a special year for us.”
For that, he can thank Seguin, who went from shoulder surgery to shouldering the load. The do-everything senior was lost for the 2007 season after tearing the labrum in his left shoulder in the third game against rival Basalt. He came into this season fully healthy and fully determined.
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It showed. He averaged nearly eight yards per carry and was one of quarterback Anderson Cole’s favorite targets through the air. He was a force on kick returns and finished with a school-record 32 touchdowns. Two of those scores ” an interception return and a 4-yard scamper ” came in a playoff loss to Florence.
On defense, Seguin, a middle linebacker, was the team’s second-leading tackler.
“That’s a guy you can build the team around,” Sirko said. “He responded to the pressure greatly. … Without him, we wouldn’t have had the success we had.”
Cole gave the Skiers some much-needed offensive balance, throwing for nearly 1,200 yards. Before a largely forgettable performance against Florence, he threw 12 touchdowns, was picked off just three times and completed nearly 66 percent of his passes.
“He really did a super job leading us,” Sirko said of the junior. “He showed that we had to be reckoned with in both throwing and passing.”
Goldberg, a defensive lineman, spearheaded a unit that allowed six or fewer points in five of 11 games. He led the team with 56 solo tackles, Sirko said.
“The way the defense works is that the line is basically supposed to plug holes and let the backers run to the ball,” the coach added. “He did that and made some tackles of his own. … He was pretty outstanding.”
Fellow defensive linemen Mines and Berklund were the team’s third- and fifth-leading tacklers, respectively. In addition, Mines led the team with 19 catches. Berklund, meanwhile, anchored the offensive line from the center position, helping open holes for Seguin and backup tailback Ufkes.
Ufkes, a sophomore and 2007 honorable mention, was second on the team in both rushing and receiving yards. In addition, he picked off four passes at cornerback despite being undersized.
“He played both ways all year for us and got in there and did some good things for us,” Sirko said. “It’s nice to get some underclassmen [on the list] to help develop pride.”
Aspen will lean on Ufkes heavily in 2009, as well as honorable mentions Moriarty and Mayer. Moriarty, the team’s “biggest surprise,” Sirko said, settled into his role as a free safety and also emerged as a go-to receiver. Mayer, just a sophomore, distinguished himself on the defensive end. In Oct. 17’s game against valley rival Roaring Fork, he recovered two fumbles.
Such production will be pivotal to offset key losses from the senior class. Watson and LeVan were mainstays on an offensive line that helped Aspen pile up nearly 2,000 yards on the ground.
Replacing Hill and VanDomelen ” both first-team selections in 2007 ” will also be a challenge. Hill was the team’s fourth-leading receiver and seventh-leading tackler. VanDomelen, hampered all year by injuries, still managed to shine at outside linebacker and at fullback.
“Those guys will be missed, and I’m glad they got some recognition,” Sirko said.
“We went into the season hoping we could be at the top of the heap and have a shot at the end of the year, and we did. We’re hoping next year to do the same thing, maybe step up and play a little higher. I’m excited about what we’ve got coming. … At my age, to still make a difference in young kids is a heck of a good time.”
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