Football: Skiers collect all-conference honors | AspenTimes.com

Football: Skiers collect all-conference honors

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

Aspen senior Nik Morgan, the Skiers' leading rusher, is an all-conference selection in the Western Slope League for 2015.

Aspen High School senior Tristan Niskanen was voted to the All-Western Slope League football team for the third consecutive year.

In balloting by the conference coaches, Niskanen was selected to the all-league first team for a third time, joining fellow Aspen senior Nik Morgan.

Morgan, a running back, led the Skiers in rushing despite missing parts of three games with injury.

Niskanen, this season, played tight end and defensive end.

"This is a great way to cap a great career," Aspen interim head coach Chris Peshek said, adding that Niskanen was an invaluable player in the AHS program. "He's a quiet leader … leads by example."

Peshek said Niskanen never missed a practice, a meeting or a film session.

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"He was a huge role model (for the younger players)," Peshek said.

In addition to Niskanen and Morgan, two more Aspen Skiers were voted all-league honorable mention for 2015.

James Kistner and RJ Peshek, the son of the coach, were recognized by the conference coaches as honorable mention selections.

"Nik was one of the leading rushers in the league," Chris Peshek said, despite missing playing time. "He's a hard worker."

Peshek said the coaching staff went to the senior Morgan when they had a midseason coaching change.

"He stepped up. He stayed positive through the transition," Peshek said, adding that Morgan had a strong finish to the season.

"This was a well-deserved honor for him."

Peshek said Kistner, a lineman, blossomed for the Skiers halfway through the year, connecting with an assistant coach who rejoined the program after the head coaching change.

"He finally realized how good he could be," Peshek said, adding that Kistner is only a junior and will return next year as a senior.

On his son's selection as a honorable mention pick, Chris Peshek said it's every father's dream.

"This … puts a smile on a dad's face," Peshek said of RJ, the Skiers' starting quarterback and linebacker.

He also served as Aspen's punter and placekicker.

But he was given added responsibilities during a difficult season.

"We leaned on him to reach out and keep the guys together," Chris Peshek said.

The result was a strong finish with an 0-4 mark more like a 4-0 mark for the resilient Skiers, the coach said.

The finish will add momentum to the program next year, said Peshek, who added that he intends to be part of the AHS football program next year in some coaching capacity, whether as an assistant or the head coach.

"I just love being with the kids," Peshek said.

dstrode@aspentimes.com