Homecoming test Friday for Aspen football
The Aspen Times
The resort rivalry is back.
This time, on the high school football field.
The Aspen Skiers will host Battle Mountain on Friday night in the annual homecoming game at Aspen School District Stadium — 7 p.m. kickoff.
But, of course, the game is more than a football game between the Skiers and the Huskies.
This matchup is Aspen versus Vail.
Vail versus Aspen.
The matchup was renewed in 2014 because Battle Mountain was granted a move down in classification for football on the heels of 21 consecutive losses entering the fall season.
As a new member of the 2A Western Slope North League, the Huskies are off to a blazing start this season piling up 2-0 conference record, 3-2 overall.
The Skiers, trying to bounce back from a turnover-plagued 12-10 loss at Coal Ridge last weekend, enter Friday night’s game against Battle Mountain with a 1-1 conference record. They are 3-3 overall.
“Homecoming is about the game Friday night,” Aspen head coach Ryan Triece said. “That’s our job for homecoming … that football game.”
He said the Skiers have been focused in practice this week in spite of the homecoming week distractions.
“This is a chance to play for something bigger than yourself,” Triece said, adding that the game also will honor the Donor Dudes and the opportunity to further the cause of organ and tissue donation.
“You’re playing for your school, for your community, for the Donor Dudes … we’ll be wearing the green sox for them,” Triece said. “Then, you throw in the Aspen-Vail rivalry. We’re looking forward to it.”
Triece said the Skiers should have a few players back from injury, including starting quarterback Tyler Tick.
A senior, Tick missed last week’s game because of a concussion.
“Tyler’s looking to be good to go Friday night,” Triece said.
Starters Evan Morris, Jake Ferlisi and Nicky Cottrell also have been out.
As two-way starters, those injuries amount to double the impact, according to Triece.
The Skiers, who beat Roaring Fork 34-24 two weeks ago, will take on a revitalized Battle Mountain team that beat Roaring Fork 50-14 last weekend.
Huskies quarterback Demetrius Parrish threw three touchdown passes in the first nine minutes of the game as Battle Mountain built a 31-0 lead.
Parrish is 52 of 77 passing this year for 456 yards and four touchdowns.
He’s also the leading rusher for Battle Mountain with 173 yards.
Battle Mountain beat Moffat County 41-27 two weeks ago.
The Huskies’ losses came against Eagle Valley 35-13 and Steamboat Springs 24-14.
Aspen, on the other hand, defeated Steamboat Springs 23-14 when senior Ryan Fitzgerald rushed for 348 yards.
Fitzgerald has totaled more than 1,050 yards this season, averaging 7.0 yards per carry. He’s scored seven touchdowns for Aspen.
The Skiers will host Moffat County next week before closing the regular season at Basalt on Oct. 24.
Basalt (2-4 overall, 1-1 in league) will play a rivalry game at Roaring Fork (1-5, 0-2) on Friday night.
The Longhorns, hit hard by injury, dropped a 49-6 decision to Moffat County in Basalt last weekend.
A week earlier, the Longhorns exploded for a big 30-6 win over Coal Ridge.
Basalt will play at Battle Mountain next weekend before hosting Aspen to close the regular season.
In other key regional games Friday, there will be a Class 1A showdown at Cedaredge between the 5-1 Bruins and 5-1 Meeker after the Cowboys lost to No. 1 Paonia 22-16 last weekend.
Coal Ridge (3-3) will play at Moffat County (2-4).
Glenwood Springs (4-2) will travel to Delta (4-2) in a 3A showdown.
Hotchkiss (3-3) will host winless Grand Valley (0-7).
Eagle Valley (4-2) will play at Steamboat Springs (3-3).
Palisade (4-2) will play at Rifle (6-0). The unbeaten Bears are ranked No. 3 in Class 3A in the coloradopreps.com poll this week.
Delta is ranked No. 7. Glenwood Springs is No. 10.
Gunnison (5-1) is ranked No. 8 in the Class 2A poll this week. Montezuma-Cortez (4-2) is at No. 10.
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Under bluebird skies with 160 acres under their boots, hundreds of skiers and snowboarders took to Aspen Mountain for opening day Wednesday.