Football: Aspen passes road test in Cedaredge | AspenTimes.com

Football: Aspen passes road test in Cedaredge

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

CEDAREDGE, Colo. – The Aspen defense was dominant and the offense efficient in Friday’s road game at Cedaredge. The combination resulted in a third straight win for the Skiers.

Aspen, sixth in The Denver Post’s latest media poll, jumped out to a 17-0 lead after two quarters and rolled to a 30-0 victory over the Bruins, improving to 6-1.

“The defense really stepped up and played outstanding,” Skiers head coach Mike Sirko said. “We played a complete game. I’m real proud of that.”

Freshman quarterback Tucker Beirne orchestrated touchdown drives on Aspen’s second and third possessions of the game, giving the visitors a 14-0 cushion after 12 minutes. Aspen tacked on a field goal in the waning moments of the second quarter.

That momentum carried over in the second half, as the Skiers defense forced a three-and-out on the opening possession of the third. Aspen followed with a touchdown to all but put this game out of reach.

Beirne completed 15 of 25 passed for 189 yards and three scores – two of which were hauled in by Jake Nugent. Wide receiver Quinn Morehead caught nine passes for 112 yards and one score.

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Daniel Schwartz led the way on defense with two interceptions, while outside linebacker Joey Vernier recorded 10 tackles.

“It’s probably the most complete game we’ve played all year,” Sirko said. “We have to keep improving. … It’s not going to get any easier from here.”

The Skiers, who have been on the road for four of the last six games, return home to face 2A Western Slope powers Coal Ridge and Olathe the next two Fridays. They’ll close out the regular season at Roaring Fork on Nov. 4.

PARACHUTE, Colo. – Basalt’s second-half struggles caught up with them again Friday against Grand Valley.

The Longhorns jumped out to the early lead and headed to halftime tied at seven Friday in Parachute. Things unraveled in a hurry from there, however, as the Cardinals scored 27 unanswered, cruising to a 34-7 victory.

“We fumbled on the first play of the third quarter, and that kind of represents the second half,” Basalt head coach Carl Frerichs said. “Give a lot of credit to Grand Valley. They came out and executed and took advantage of our miscues. We were outplayed and outcoached.”

The Longhorns led rival Aspen, 13-7, in the early stages of the third quarter last week before surrendering 28 unanswered down the stretch. Things started positively again Friday, as Zach Mobilian scored from 1 yard out to give the visitors an early 7-0 cushion.

Grand Valley battled back to square the game at intermission, then assumed total control.

“All night we were moving the ball, then we’d kill ourselves,” Frerichs said. “We have an aggressive defense, and it seemed like we were having a hard time finding the ball on their counters and tricky offensive plays. They knocked us in the mouth.

“The kids played hard and gave everything they had. … We just have to put together four quarters. We have yet to do that.”

Basalt, now 3-4, has lost three of its last four games. It returns home Friday to take on Gunnison.

jmaletz@aspentimes.com