Aspen beats Basalt in prep football rivalry |

Aspen beats Basalt in prep football rivalry

Aspen's Nicky Cottrell (15) and Luke O'Callaghan (50) chase Basalt quarterback Tim Johnson during Friday's rivalry game at Aspen High School.
Leigh Vogel/The Aspen Tims |

Add another chapter to the colorful and hard-hitting football rivalry at the upper end of the Roaring Fork Valley.

Tyler Tick passed for two touchdowns, and Ryan Fitzgerald rushed for 165 yards and one touchdown Friday night to help the Aspen Skiers to a 21-10 victory over the Basalt Longhorns on a mild fall evening in Aspen.

The weather may have been mild, but the action on the field turf was far from mild with hard tackles, leveling blocks, boiling tempers and more than a few penalties.

Tick, an Aspen junior, passed 21 yards to Wyatt Young for the game’s first touchdown when the Skiers took over deep in Basalt territory after an errant fourth-down snap by the Longhorns.

But the Longhorns, entering the game on a two-game win streak, answered with a 12-play drive and a 37-yard field goal by David Franklin for a 7-3 halftime score.

Fitzgerald, Tick and the Skiers drove 83 yards in 12 plays to open the second half, closing the drive on a 3-yard touchdown sweep by Fitzgerald — his 12th touchdown of the season. Fitzgerald gained 65 of those yards on the ground.

Leading 14-3, the Aspen defense was pressured when the Longhorns drove the length of the field, helping their cause when Richie Guerrero recovered a fumbled punt by the Skiers.

The Longhorns, with Tim Johnson directing the I-formation attack, piled up yardage and put together 15 plays in the drive. The big play was a 17-yard completion from Johnson to Oswaldo Olmedo.

The drive came up empty, however, when a 32-yard field goal attempt banged off the crossbar and bounced away.

The Skiers last score came after recovering a Basalt fumble with 9:18 to play in the game.

Aspen marched 37 yards in 11 plays with Tick connecting with Nicky Cottrell from 8 yards out for the touchdown. John Heaphey’s third conversion gave Aspen a 21-3 lead.

The Longhorns immediately drove 80 yards in nine plays with Johnson scoring from 15 yards out on a quarterback keeper with 2:38 to play. Franklin’s PAT produced the final 22-10 margin.

Fitzgerald added to his Western League-leading rushing total, pushing it to 1,608 total yards.

The win improved the playoff-bound Skiers to 6-3 overall, 5-2 in league play.

Johnson finished the night with 7 of 14 passing for 144 yards along with his rushing touchdown.

Tailback Matt Williams had 16 carries for 44 yards for the Longhorns, who finished the season 2-7 overall, 2-5 in conference play.

The Skiers, who finished third in the Western Conference, will move into the Class 2A state playoffs next weekend.

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