Aspen football ready for challenge of road trip
The Aspen Times
Preseason practice is over.
Now, it’s game time.
Even though it’s an early start, it’s still game time for the Aspen Skiers.
“Now, it’s about what we can do to execute,” Aspen High School head football coach Ryan Triece said as the Skiers headed out on the long trip to Cortez, where they will take on the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers at 7 p.m. today in the season opener. “We’ve been through what we need to do. They have to go out there and execute.”
In his first season as the head coach of the Skiers, Triece said he’s not a big fan of the long trip.
But, he said, at least the long trip comes before the start of school on Monday.
“There have been a lot of extra challenges with this trip,” he said. The Skiers stayed last night in Montrose, breaking the long trip over two days.
“This will be good to get this trip out of the way,” Triece said.
He said that he and the coaches worked on refining the team’s focus at practice this week.
“We didn’t like the focus,” Triece said. “We had to … yell at them a little bit.”
He said the team has to play with cohesiveness, not as individuals.
Triece said he is expecting the senior leaders to step up and keep the team concentrating on the goals ahead.
“It’s their team. They have to set the example on and off the field,” said Triece, who summoned his father out of retirement to help with the Skiers.
Jerry Triece coached high school football in Michigan for more than 30 years, piling up state championships along the way.
“This has been a dream come true,” Ryan Trice said of the opportunity to coach with his father. “I always thought the roles would be reversed and I would be coaching for him.”
But circumstances turned the tables and father is now coaching for son.
“Getting him out here to help with the defense was invaluable,” Ryan Triece said. “It’s that much less that I have to deal with.”
He said the entire AHS football coaching staff has blended this year as the Skiers head into a new conference configuration.
“We have a great staff. We enjoy each other’s company. We enjoy working together,” he said.
That’s the same message they’re sending to their players.
The Skiers will return to Aspen for the home opener Aug. 29 against Grand Valley, a nonconference game like tonight’s at Cortez.
Aspen will play in the newly aligned Western Slope North League along with Basalt, Coal Ridge, Roaring Fork, Moffat County (Craig) and Battle Mountain (Vail).
The Skiers, who have made seven consecutive trips to the Class 2A football playoffs, will travel to Steamboat Springs for another nonconference game Oct. 5.
Then, Aspen will host Cedaredge on Sept. 12 before a bye week and then the opening of the conference season on the road in Carbondale against Roaring Fork on Sept. 26.
Mikaela Shiffrin did a lot of soul searching after she didn’t win a medal and didn’t finish three of her five individual races at last year’s Beijing Olympics after entering the games amid enormous expectations.