Aspen football cruises by Cedaredge in home opener, 48-12; Basalt also rolls
A week ago, the Aspen High School football team played arguably its toughest game of the season in a 20-8 loss at No. 1 Bayfield, the defending Class 2A state champions. This didn’t mean Friday’s home opener against Cedaredge was going to be any easier.
“The hardest game is typically the game after your hardest game,” AHS coach Travis Benson said. “There was some concern I had coming into this week, and I’m proud of the way they stepped up. It’s also a lot easier coming at home. We only have three home games and getting to play in front of your home crowd, you get a little bit more amped.”
The Skiers were able to defend their home field against the Bruins, winning 48-12 to get to 2-1 on the young season. Aspen also beat Meeker in their season opener, 38-26.
While Benson was happy with the outcome, he saw plenty of areas for the team to improve on before they travel to Grand Valley (1-2) next week for their final non-league game.
“We still have stuff to clean up,” Benson said. “Can’t have that many penalties and be a championship football team. Got to clean up the penalties, but very proud of the offensive line this week. I challenged them that we got to get our run game going, and they stepped up to the challenge in a big way.”
Aspen led 16-0 after its first two possessions against Cedaredge. The first score came on a 25-yard pass and catch from sophomore quarterback Tyler Ward to Max Ufkes. The second score was a 15-yard run from junior tailback Trey Fabrocini, set up by a Jack Seamans interception.
Cedaredge got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter on a short touchdown pass to make it 16-6 after a failed conversion. Aspen answered right back, a 3-yard keeper by Ward making it 24-6 after another 2-point conversion.
The Bruins’ biggest play of the game came on a 71-yard touchdown run by junior Joshua Jenkins with about five minutes to play until halftime that cut the deficit to 24-12.
But, not to be outdone, Aspen came back with a dramatic end to the half. As time expired in the quarter, Ward found senior Trey Thorpe for a 37-yard touchdown after the ball bounced off the hands of a Cedaredge defender and into Thorpe’s.
Aspen led 30-12 at halftime.
“They did force turnovers and they played aggressive,” Benson said of his defense, which got stronger after the break. “We were bending a little bit there for two quarters and gave up one big play really, for the second score. But coming back in the second half, they flew to the ball and played hard.”
Aspen didn’t allow a point after halftime. The Skiers scored two more touchdowns, one a 14-yard throw and catch from Ward to Noah Hollander, the second a 6-yard Fabrocini run to make it 46-12 after three quarters. A late safety from a bad snap led to the final 48-12 outcome.
“The nice part is we have a lot of room for improvement right now,” Benson said. “All I’ve asked these kids, like I’ve said to you before, is one step forward each day and as long as we continue improving and getting better — you don’t want to be peaking in Week 3. We want to be peaking at the end of the season.”
Next week’s game at Grand Valley will wrap up non-league play for the Skiers. The Cardinals have losses to highly-ranked Kent Denver (49-6) and Rifle (49-0). They beat Lake County 42-0 on Friday for their first win.
Aspen opens Class 2A Western Slope League play Sept. 28 at Delta. AHS’s next home game is Oct. 5 against Moffat County.
BASALT ROLLS PAGOSA SPRINGS
The Basalt High School football team had no issues on Friday, beating Pagosa Springs 31-0 on the BHS field. The Longhorns led 17-0 at halftime.
“I could not be prouder of the starting defense, just in terms of assignment football,” Basalt coach Carl Frerichs said. “We threw the ball pretty well. We really moved the ball. Again, the offensive line just played great.”
Pagosa Springs fell to 1-3 overall with the loss. The Pirates have faced one of the toughest schedules in the state so far, with losses also coming against Durango and La Junta. They did beat Centauri last week.
BHS senior Jake Reardon ran for more than 150 yards against Pagosa Springs, while the defense recorded its second shutout in three games. The Longhorns beat Olathe 28-0 in the season opener before a 47-6 win at Battle Mountain last week.
Now 3-0, Basalt heads to Paonia next week. The 2-1 Eagles beat Coal Ridge, one of Basalt’s 2A Western Slope League foes, 19-0 on Friday. Paonia also beat Monte Vista 41-0 on Sept. 7, with its lone loss coming Aug. 31 to Centauri, 38-0.
Basalt, ranked No. 8 in 2A in the Sept. 10 CHSAANow.com poll, opens WSL play Sept. 29 at Moffat County. Its next home game is Oct. 5 against Coal Ridge.
When asked if he is receiving any insider information on the terrain, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde — the boyfriend of Edwards’ own Mikaela Shiffrin — chuckled and replied, “You probably think so, but I actually I don’t.”