Aspen football back on winning track
The Aspen Times
Back on familiar turf.
The Aspen High School football team rushed back into the win column on familiar turf Friday night, beating Coal Ridge, 41-20, in a Western League game.
Junior Ryan Fitzgerald, behind the active offensive line, rushed for 280 yards and three touchdowns on 39 hearty carries against the winless Titans, who stunned the Skiers with two first-quarter touchdowns.
But Aspen answered with Fitzgerald’s 55-yard touchdown run late in the first period to stake the Skiers to a 21-14 lead — a lead they would not relinquish in improving to 3-2 in league play and 4-3 overall.
Fitzgerald scored Aspen’s first touchdown on the Skiers’ opening drive — 12 plays, 63 yards and a touchdown.
Coal Ridge speedster Chris Contreras helped the Titans even the score when he ran 80 yards from scrimmage on their first play.
Aspen regained the lead on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Tyler Tick at the end of an 11-play scoring drive.
Coal Ridge’s second touchdown came on a 62-yard pass from Jerome Pizzelli to Christian Keith.
Aspen kicker John Heaphey closed the first half with a 24-yard field goal to give the Skiers a 24-14 halftime lead.
Heaphey added a 25-yarder in the second half.
Aspen also picked up a one-yard touchdown run by Wyatt Young late in the third quarter.
Fitzgerald finished Aspen’s scoring with a 47-yard scoring burst with 6:06 to play in the game.
The Aspen junior also had a punt return for a touchdown negated by a penalty.
Coal Ridge added a TD on a 2-yard run by Jared Duran late in the fourth quarter.
Contreras totaled 118 rushing yards for the Titans on 12 carries.
Pizzelli passed for 180 yards on 10 of 19 with one touchdown.
Coal Ridge fell to 0-7, 0-5 in conference.
The Skiers will be back on the road next week for a game against Grand Valley at Parachute.
The Aspen football team will close the regular season Oct. 25 at home against rival Basalt.
Also Friday night Basalt beat Grand Valley, 51-21, Gunnison shut out Bayfield, 7-0, and Olathe beat Pagosa Springs 28-6.
Matt Williams had two rushing touchdowns as did Oswaldo Olmedo.
Cody Banc rushed for more than 100 yards as did Williams.
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This past season brought with it Hailey Swirbul’s greatest individual result as a professional cross-country ski racer. But any real satisfaction she received always came when racing alongside her teammates, notably during world champs.