Cortez spoils opener for Aspen High football team |

Cortez spoils opener for Aspen High football team

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

The new era Aspen High School football team opened the new season with a long road trip to Cortez on Friday night.

A 33-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers will make the return trip home even longer.

“It was not a good outcome, not a lot of fun,” first-year head coach Ryan Triece said after the loss. “We had spurts where we were competitive. We started the game by getting a turnover … but we stalled.”

Cortez, a Class 3A football school that is playing down in classification in the Western Slope South League because of competitive problems in the past and geographical situations, then struck early in Friday’s nonconference win over the Skiers.

“Cortez … they have a lot of three-year starters,” Triece said. “They were bigger; they were faster; they were stronger.”

He said the Skiers have to come home and work harder as they head into the home opener next Friday when they host Grand Valley in another nonconference game.

“We were a little outmatched tonight,” Triece said. “This was the best Cortez team I’ve ever seen.”

The Panthers featured a half-dozen three-year starters. They took advantage of three Aspen turnovers.

Also Friday, Moffat County played a nonleague game at powerhouse Rifle. Moffat County is in the Western Slope North League along with Aspen, Basalt, Roaring Fork, Coal Ridge and Battle Mountain.

Rifle, playing at home, overpowered Moffat County 62-7 in Friday’s season opener.

The Skiers will return to Aspen for the 7 p.m. home opener next Friday night, Aug. 29, when the Grand Valley Cardinals visit from Parachute.

Formerly a league opponent, Grand Valley has dropped down to 1A football because of declining enrollment. That makes the Aug. 29 game a nonconference game.

A week later, on Sept. 5, the Skiers will travel to Steamboat Springs to play up a division against the 3A Sailors.

Cedaredge will visit Aspen for a Sept. 12 game before a bye week for the Skiers.

Aspen will open Western Slope North League play Sept. 26 in Carbondale against Roaring Fork, which is back up to the 2A ranks in football this year.

Aspen will play at Coal Ridge on Oct. 3 before hosting home games Oct. 10 against Battle Mountain and Oct. 17 against Moffat County of Craig. Moffat County is a former 3A school down to 2A because of an enrollment drop.

Both are conference games for the Skiers.

Aspen will close out the regular season Oct 24 at Basalt.