AHS, BHS football blown out in finales
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Aspen and Basalt’s high school football team’s played their season finales Friday night, and both were victims of lopsided defeats.
“We ran into a moving brick wall,” said AHS head coach Tom Goode after the Skiers 59-6 loss to Eagle Valley. “They were just an excellent team; they were ready to play.”
The Longhorns didn’t fare much better, losing to Hotchkiss 42-0 to finish with a 3-6 record. The Skiers were 2-7 on the season, one win better than last year when they were 1-8.
Despite the tough season, Goode said his players were sad to see it come to an end.
“The season went too quick for these seniors. I couldn’t get anybody off the field at the end of the game,” Goode said. “Emotions were really high; it was a very emotional game for players and coaches both.”
Furthermore, Goode said he couldn’t be prouder of his team.
“I give them all the respect in the world,” Goode said. “They’re thin in numbers, thin in size, thin in experience – but thick in heart.”
Skiers senior tailback Dusty Stutsman prevented a shutout with a 75-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter, Goode said.
Basalt’s tailback Clayton Peetz was the silver lining in the Longhorns loss, rushing for an impressive 186 yards in 26 carries. In doing so, Peetz, a junior, compiled over 1,000 yards rushing on the season.
“That was pretty nice,” said BHS coach Forrest Grosh.
Both teams are similarly young, undersized and inexperienced, but their coaches aim to correct that in the coming months.
“We’re starting off-season training here in a few weeks,” Goode said. “The kids know the importance of weight training – from the teams we played against.”
Grosh, who just completed his first season in the BHS program, said off-season workouts will be intense.
“I have a lot more planned for this off-season,” he said.
Another obstacle both programs face is numbers. With an abundance of team sports and outdoor recreation opportunities, attracting football players has been an uphill battle.
“We’re going to market ourselves footballwise,” Goode said. “We want to get more students involved.”
But both teams have at least a couple things on their side. While they were forced to play and even start several freshman this year, the experience those young players gained should benefit the programs next season. Furthermore, both teams graduated only a handful of seniors.
“The majority of our roster will return,” Grosh said. “We look very optimistic into the future.”
Grosh started four sophomores on the offensive line this year, and with Peetz returning they should be tough on the ground.
“They’re all good size and they got a lot of experience,” Grosh said. “They’ll
improve in strength and quickness – it’s a promising group.”
Said Goode: “They’re real excited as far as the fun level goes. We’re very pleased with our program. I know the guys are extremely satisfied.”
Additionally, the valley’s Three Rivers Youth Football League should also better both teams, as a pool of experienced players will funnel into the program’s every year.
Goode estimates roughly 15 eighth-graders will join the AHS program as freshman next year, and those numbers will only increase as the Three Rivers league gains popularity.
“That is a nice, quality group of kids to choose from,” Goode said. “That would be a great improvement.”
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