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Aspen, Basalt host football games Friday night

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
The Aspen High School football team will host Cedaredge at 7 pm. Friday in a nonconference game at Aspen School District Stadium. The Skiers are 2-1; the Bruins are 2-0.
Aubree Dallas/The Aspen Times |

The Aspen High School football team will embark on a nonconference mission Friday night.

The Skiers, coming off a hand-fought 24-13 victory at Steamboat Springs last weekend, will try to extend the momentum of the victory over the Class 3A opponent in tonight’s game against a traditional Class 1A power.

Cedaredge (2-0) will visit Aspen School District Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff against the Skiers (2-1).



“Cedaredge is a big team,” Aspen head coach Ryan Triece said. “They run out of the pistol (formation) and try to spread you out in space.”

He said the Aspen defense will have to be disciplined against the Bruins, who have experience from a state championship game appearance two years ago.




“We need to be strong on offense again,” Triece said after the Skiers amassed more than 400 rushing yards in the win at Steamboat Springs.

Senior tailback Ryan Fitzgerald accumulated 348 yards on 34 carries against the Sailors — one of the all-time best totals in Aspen HIgh School history. Unofficially, his total ranks close to the 350-yard mark set by Nicky Ufkes.

Cedarege is coming off back-to-back victories over Basalt and Olathe. The Bruins, coached by Brandon Milholland (a former all-state quarterback at Grand Junction Central), scored late in the opener to beat the Longhorns 17-10 in Basalt.

Last weekend, Cedaredge eked out a 2-0 win over Olathe.

The Skiers, prior to the win at Steamboat Springs, beat Grand Valley 41-7 in the home opener in Aspen. They dropped a 33-0 decision at Class 3A Cortez to open the season.

After the Friday night game against Cedaredge, Aspen High School will take off on a week of experiential education.

The AHS football team will not play next Friday, Sept. 19. The Skiers will return to action Sept. 26 at Roaring Fork in the Western Slope North League opener.

“It’s definitely a unique challenge,” Triece said of the week break in the middle of football season. “Others schools don’t have the same type of challenge.”

He said the Skiers will have to maintain their focus against Cedaredge before shifting into ex-ed mode.

“We’ve talked to the team about staying focused, building on the success,” Triece said, adding that the Skiers will take the outcome of the Cedaredge game with them on ex ed.

“We need to go out, do our jobs,” the Aspen first-year head coach said.

“These kids have been battle tested. A lot of them have been through (experiential education),” he said. “The lacrosse guys … last spring. They had success and they dealt with ex ed.”

Strong senior leadership also will be needed to pull the Skiers back together after a week away, he said.

Down Highway 82 in Basalt, the Longhorns (0-2) will be looking for their first win of the season Friday night against unbeaten Eagle Valley (2-0).

The Longhorns lost on the road at Center last weekend after opening with a tough 17-10 loss to Cedaredge.

Eagle Valley owns wins over Vista Peak Prep and Battle Mountain.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Basalt High School.

dstrode@aspentimes.com

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