Paul E. Anna: High Points | AspenTimes.com

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

There is greatness on the gridiron here in the high country.

For those of you who have not followed the exploits of the Aspen High School Skiers football team it is time to jump on the band wagon. Time to be a front-runner. Time to set aside a Saturday afternoon and go root for the home team.

Saturday at 1 p.m., the Skiers will host Faith Christian of Arvada at the Aspen High School Field in the quarterfinals of the Colorado High School Football Championships. This is the deepest the Skiers have ever gone in the playoffs after having won a first round thriller last week on the road, coming from behind to beat Pagosa Springs, 46-41.

Seeded 9th with an impressive 9-2 record, the Skiers face a formidable foe in Faith Christian. Undefeated at 11-0 this year, the Eagles have won two state Championships since 2003 and are consistently one of Colorado’s most disciplined and talented teams.

The story this year for the Skiers has been a magical string of great games for the diminutive running back Nicky Ufkes. Never before, not even when Cowboy Tony Vaugner was toting the pigskin for the Skiers, has Aspen seen such a prodigious season turned in by a running back.

The numbers tell much of the story. In 11 games Ufkes has rushed for 2,353 yards. He has scored 32 TDs, 30 of them on the ground. In the last four games since the Skiers fell to defending 2A champs Olathe, Ufkes has scored 14 TDs and averaged an incredible 286 yards per game. He has had a 1000-yard season in just those four games alone.

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When a running back is going this good you know that he has terrific support from the rest of the team, especially his offensive line. The “big uglies” up front have a done a sensational job of opening holes and escorting Ufkes as he has matriculated down the field with ever-increasing regularity.

Last week Coach Sirko felt fit to give the ball to Ufkes 36 times and the result was the dramatic win at Pagosa Springs.

This week against Faith Christian, who defeated Bayfield last week to advance, the game plan will likely be more of the same. Run Ufkes left, run Ufkes right and play some stellar defense. A win would be the greatest triumph in Skier football history and send them to the semifinals with both momentum and their toughest opponent out of the tournament.

Oh, and if Nick Ufkes was able to maintain his season average of 213 yards per game and the Skiers were to get to the state finals he would be on the cusp of a 3,000 yard season. Something that has only been accomplished three times in Colorado High School Football history.

Lets not get a ahead of ourselves here. Let’s just show up, cheer loudly and hope the Skiers play like champions on Saturday.