Grand Valley grinds down Aspen
Aspen Times Staff Writer
In Aspen High’s second gridiron appearance since the revival of varsity football, Aspen was again overmatched at home, losing 20-12 to Grand Valley Saturday.
Slow to the punch at first, unable to generate sustainable offense later, Aspen gained 123 yards of total offense compared to Grand Valley’s 343. Aspen fell to 0-2 on the season, Aspen’s first since 1994 at the varsity ranks after two years with a JV.
“We had our opportunities and we didn’t do it,” said head coach Tom Goode. “But it’s a step up from last week when we couldn’t get anything going.”
Aspen made a game of it from the first play of the second half, though, eventually cutting the deficit to 12-14. Grand Valley rammed in two one-yard touchdown runs with Christian Tegtmeier in the first half, but opened the second by failing to cover Trevor Clapper’s kickoff. Aspen recovered and three plays later sophomore halfback Lange Adams found a hole for a four-yard TD.
“They were really keying [tailback] Dusty Stutsman, so Lange really came up big for us,” coach Goode said. (Stutsman finished with 70 yards rushing, Adams with 45.)
Aspen staged its finest drive of the season later in the third quarter, an 18-play effort that ended in a one-yard touchdown sneak for sophomore QB Pat Faurer in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. After a missed extra point on the earlier TD, and trailing 12-14, Aspen went for the two-point conversion but failed.
“Our offense really got moving,” Goode said. “That’s the best we looked, but we couldn’t sustain it.”
Grand Valley gobbled up the clock on their next possession, finally scoring on a triple-reverse pass. Aspen managed to block the extra-point attempt to keep Grand Valley barely accessible at 12-20.
“It was tough. We just couldn’t get the ball back in the fourth quarter,” Goode said.
Aspen gave the ball up on downs in its first possession late in the fourth quarter, then Faurer threw a long interception in the last-ditch effort.
“They want to win but you’ve got to keep reminding them that they’ve come a long way already. As opposed to last year, we’ve played two games compared to none,” Goode said. “We’ve learned a lot in these games.”
On Friday night Aspen faces Basalt, the opening 2A Western Slope League game for both schools. Basalt stands at 0-2 after losing to Glenwood Springs 44-0 Friday. Aspen and Basalt kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at the Basalt Middle School field.
“I told the guys it’s a win-win situation,” Goode said. “The games we’ve played don’t mean anything going into Basalt Friday night. We’ve made improvements in the last two weeks and we just have to go in there and hang steady.”
And, as Goode noted, “somebody in the upper valley is going to break their losing streak.”
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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.