Aspen High football shuts down Arvada on Saturday, moves to 2-0 on season

The Aspen High School football team expected its defense to make up for last week’s debacle against Middle Park in the season opener, in which it allowed 50 points in the team’s wild 80-50 win.

Well, mission accomplished.

“The defense played up to expectations and took a lot of coaching this week,” AHS coach Karson Pike said. “We tackled pretty well today, which was the big change. Obviously an immediate result there showing the zero.”

The Skiers played a rare weekend game on Saturday, winning 44-0 at Arvada (0-1) to move to 2-0 on the season. All of Aspen’s points were scored in the first half and the entire second half was played with a running clock.

Aspen also beat Arvada in 2016, sneaking out a 16-12 victory, the first for Pike as the AHS head coach.

Unlike last week when Aspen scored on the opening kickoff and clicked from the start, Saturday’s game was a slower start for AHS. Still, Aspen scored more points in the first half against Arvada (44) than it did last week against Middle Park (34).

“We did have a three-and-out early in the game and a few mistakes mishandling the ball once we were up a couple of scores,” Pike said of Saturday’s game with Arvada. “Just lack of focus, probably. Some had to do with the heat. Some had to do with we thought it was a 12 o’clock kick so we were there at 9:30 and it was a 1 o’clock kick. But with all the distractions, the boys came out pretty focused and we put together a pretty good game.”

AHS senior quarterback R.J. Peshek followed last week’s brilliant performance with another solid outing. He finished the game 12 of 19 passing for 176 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He rushed for a team-high 60 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.

Sophomore Max Ufkes led Aspen in receiving with six catches for 84 yards and a score. Ufkes, Noah Hollander, Ben Appleby and Trey Thorpe each had a receiving touchdown for the Skiers. Senior Matt Popish had an interception for a score for the defense.

Sophomore Trey Fabrocini led the team with 3.5 tackles.

While Aspen’s 2-0 start to 2017 is exciting, Pike compared it to last season’s 1-1 start, which also included a close loss to Middle Park. The team only finished 2-7 in 2016 despite two solid games out of the gate.

“Kind of a similar start — in the record book at least — but certainly playing with a lot more confidence (this season),” Pike said. “You certainly see that in our offense and in the progress we made this week defensively. So it feels great. The locker room after the game was pretty excited.”

Saturday’s game at Arvada was the first of four straight road games for Aspen. The Skiers next play at Cedaredge on Friday. Cedaredge, ranked preseason No. 9 in Class 1A, opened its season on Friday with a 31-8 loss at Monte Vista.

The Bruins beat the Skiers 42-8 in Aspen a year ago.

“Tough team, obviously,” Pike said. “They handled us pretty good last year. We’ll have a short week.”

Other notable scores from the weekend include: Moffat County over Ridge View Academy, 25-8; Montrose over Rifle, 34-29; Glenwood Springs over Conifer, 20-13; Summit over Steamboat Springs, 24-3; Meeker over Coal Ridge, 30-7; Olathe over Roaring Fork, 49-0; and Middle Park over Estes Park, 42-8.

Basalt (0-1) was off this week. BHS opened its season last week with a 34-14 loss at Rifle. The Longhorns will host Grand Valley on Friday in their home opener. The Cardinals (1-0) won 49-14 over Vail Christian to open their season on Friday.