Aspen’s Fitzgerald: All-state football team
The Aspen Times
High school football season is long gone.
But an Aspen High School player received a prestigious all-state selection — announced just this month.
The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) released its all-state football selections for each enrollment classification in the state.
Aspen High School junior Ryan Fitzgerald, the leading rusher in the Western Slope Conference, was named to the all-state team by CHSAA for Class 2A.
Fitzgerald was the only player from the western half of Colorado to receive the CHSAA all-state designation in 2A.
Fitzgerald rushed for 1,687 yards this season as the Skiers advanced to the state playoffs for the seventh consecutive season.
Fitzgerald carried the ball 273 times for an average of 168 yards per game (6.18 yards per carry). He scored 12 touchdowns in Aspen’s state playoff run.
His longest scoring run was a dramatic 90-yard touchdown jaunt against defending league champion Bayfield early in the 2013 season.
Fitzgerald also totaled 129 punt-return yards and 113 kick-return yards for the 6-4 Skiers this season.
The AHS junior also had two interceptions.
Fitzgerald is joined by familiar company on the CHSAA all-state 2A squad.
Five players from Faith Christian High School, the team that bumped Aspen from the state playoffs, were named to the all-state team.
They included running back Daniel Langewisch, defensive lineman Connor McCain, offensive lineman Josh Mihalchin, tight end Tex Ritter and kicker Stefan Knoerr (an NCAA Division I recruit).
Faith Christian advanced to the state championship game in 2013, falling 28-19 to Platte Valley.
Platte Valley (Kersey) had six players honored. They included running back/linebacker Caleb Creech, kicker/punter Bailey Landwehr, defensive back/receiver Camron Maxey, offensive/defensive lineman Lance Neuerburg, quarterback Logan Sitzman and linebacker Jake Smith.
Bennett High School landed five players on the all-state list, led by running back Johnathan Cretti, lineman Alejandro Garcia, linebacker/tight end John Jordan, lineman Vince Moquin and defensive back/kicker Tanner Wineland.
Fort Lupton players Jeff Merritt (quaterback), Jalen Vasquez (receiver) and tight end/linebacker DJ Vurciaga were recognized on the CHSAA team.
Brush all-staters included Randy Baker (linebacker/running back), Kyle Rosenbrock (quarterback, linebacker) and Maverick Seewald (lineman).
Roice Hanks (lineman) and Jacob Smith (running back/linebacker) from Strasburg were named to the Class 2A all-state team this season.
Jaden Franklin (running back), Trevon Hamlet (linebacker) and Joe Matarazzo (quarterback/defensive back) from Kent Denver also were on the list.
A pair of players from Jefferson High School made the team — Junior Ibarra (lineman) and Jovanni Lucero (running back).
Individual honors also went to Trinidad lineman Nick Paradiso and Sterling wide receiver Ethan Rose.
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Aspen High School girls soccer coach Chris Ellis could have told you the team would be facing a strong opponent in the first round of the state playoffs well before the bracket was released on Sunday. With only a 16-team field this spring, any squad that found itself among those few had to be solid.