Aspen football soaks Moffat County in wet, wild game, wins 51-7 on home turf
The latter half of the high school football season in Colorado usually brings with it an onslaught of unfavorable fall weather, and though Moffat County and Aspen competitors weren’t surprised by the conditions Friday night, that didn’t make it much more fun.
At least for one side.
MCHS lost to the Skiers, 51-7, during a cold, wet match that was no easy task for either side as they were each still smarting from a defeat.
Both teams opened up 2A Western Slope League play with losses; the Bulldogs 33-13 against Basalt on Sept. 29, whereas Aspen stood close with Delta only to fall, 49-40, during their Sept. 28 road game.
Each side’s plans for a reversal of fortune in a new week was apparent in their start to the evening. The Bulldogs took the opening kick and were quick to get in Aspen territory with 10-yard catches by Cale Scranton and Victor Silva, but the decision to go ahead on 4th and 3 kept them at the Skiers’ 43.
Aspen didn’t need long to put something together, and a draw play by Trey Fabrocini got the Skiers ahead perhaps even faster than they expected with a 44-yard touchdown sprint. Quarterback Tyler Ward kept it on the 2-point conversion to lead 8-0 for an advantage they would hold all night.
Though only trailing 16-0 in the first quarter after the Skiers scored again on a 17-yard pass from Ward to Noah Hollander, MoCo caught a break with an Aspen fumble recovered by Colby Beaver. Still, once they were forced to punt again, a 30-yard reception by Max Ufkes had the Skiers back in the red zone at the close of the period.
Fabrocini opened the second quarter with a 5-yard TD run, and Aspen found itself on the march again with a Bulldog fumble on the kick return, grabbed by Skier Trey Thorpe. A holding penalty against Moffat was extra salt in the wound as the Skiers started on the Dogs’ 14 as Ward found Ufkes in the far corner of the end zone.
A triple-digit night for the Skier receiver also included a catch for half the field on the Skiers’ next drive to make it 39-0, one point from the running clock mercy rule, which began ticking after Jack Seamans scored on a 15-yard catch following Noah Hollander’s 60-yard pull-down.
The drizzle that came just before game time was sheets of rain by halftime, adding to the MoCo woes, but, even with a second half that flew by, they made it work while playing for pride.
The Skiers took out starter Ward and replaced him with Jon Haisfield, whom Jared Baker and Angel Rodriguez sacked in quick succession, forcing Aspen to punt for the first time.
The Bulldogs gritted their teeth, and a 38-yard catch by Scranton from Beaver finally got the momentum in their direction, a push that ended with Kevin Hernandez scoring from 2 yards on a dive play with only about five minutes remaining on the ever-present clock.
Haisfield connected with Seamans from 10 for the final score of the night, while the Bulldogs nearly made another trip into the end zone as coach Jamie Nelson put in freshman Ryan Peck at QB, gaining a much-needed 19 yards in his first varsity game in the position.
Despite the increasing precipitation, Aspen’s spirits couldn’t have been higher, coach Travis Benson said, especially after last week’s defeat.
“I was a little worried with this being a sandwich game for us between two of the mighty foes of the conference, but offense, defense, special teams, all three were clicking for us tonight,” Benson said. “I’m extremely proud of these boys working hard and executing like this at home, even in this weather.”
The 4-2 Skiers will have their work cut out for them in the coming week, traveling to Rifle on Oct. 12, while the 2-4 Bulldogs look for a victory on the road the same night against Coal Ridge.
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.