Football: Late interception dooms Aspen at home
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – Two key interceptions that led to touchdowns made all the difference in Aspen’s loss to Coal Ridge on Friday night at Aspen High.
The second of three interceptions thrown by Aspen quarterback Tucker Beirne came with under a minute left in the fourth quarter. Tied at 14, Titans senior linebacker Devin Godeski returned the pass for a score, clinching the game that looked like it may be heading into overtime, 21-14.
Coal Ridge (4-4) overcame four turnovers and many penalties to win behind the relentless rushing attack of senior running back Cameron Cotton.
Titans head coach Scott Parker said his team played through the adversity, whether it was penalties or turnovers.
“Kids played their hearts out,” Parker said. “They stayed together as a team, and we’re proud of them for that.”
Aspen head coach Mike Sirko offered a different sentiment: “I only have one thing to say, we didn’t come ready to play. We have to pick it up next week.”
Beirne caught a bad break when he tossed his first interception to Titans defensive back Brent Hazzard at the beginning of the third quarter. The ball ended up in Hazzard’s hands after a Skiers wide receiver attempting to make a play on the low-thrown ball tipped it straight into the air.
The pass was returned to the 1-yard line and eventually resulted in a score.
It was not the only bad break for the Skiers, however. They had to play for a long stretch without senior wide receiver and defensive back Quinn Morehead, who left the game late in the second quarter with a left shoulder injury, according to Aspen trainer Zach Stutzman. Morehead will be re-evaluated on Monday.
Before his injury, Morehead was making big plays with three catches for 123 of Beirne’s 254 total passing yards. Beirne completed 13 of 34 passes and threw two touchdowns.
This was twice in two years that the Skiers have lost to Coal Ridge. Last year’s loss came while Aspen was ranked No. 1 in The Denver Post’s media poll.
Coal Ridge is the Skiers’ second loss this season and the first in 2A Western Slope play. They now are 6-2.
“The key thing is just staying together as a team,” said senior Brendan Wagner. “It’s all about coming out next week.”
Aspen will host defending state champion Olathe (5-3), a 19-15 winner over Grand Valley in other action, at 7 p.m. Friday.
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The dual-sport student-athlete was named to the Class 3A Western Slope League all-conference first team for softball as one of two Carbondale players on the Basalt High School softball team team last fall.