Mental lapses trip up Aspen in loss
There are mental breakdowns, and then there are complete meltdowns.The Aspen High football team exercised both in the fourth quarter of a 34-6 loss to Gunnison at home on Saturday.An Aspen running back lost his temper on the field and later on the sidelines, and was eventually sent packing by the coaches in the fourth quarter. The rest of the team might as well have followed. “He couldn’t keep his mouth shut,” Aspen coach Tom Goode said of the player.As for the rest of the Skiers, three quarters of football seemed to be all they were interested in playing.
The third quarter ended with an Aspen touchdown that cut the Cowboys’ lead to 21-6, setting up what could have been a close final quarter of play.But after Gunnison (1-4) marched down the field and scored on the ensuing drive, Aspen seemed to give up.The Skiers couldn’t move the ball on their next drive and were forced to punt from deep in their own territory, opening the door to a host of errors.Only eight members of the punt team actually came out on the field, and Aspen was forced to call a time-out.A bad snap on the punt gave Gunnison the ball at the Aspen 2-yard line, and once again, Aspen came up short in fielding a full team. After rushing the 11th defender on the field shortly before the snap, Gunnison quarterback Brian Bollig scored easily on a sneak to put the Cowboys up 34-6.
“It was a total meltdown,” a frustrated Goode said. “We had guys that were taking themselves out of the game without checking with the coaches.”Eight guys on the punt team – we can’t have that.”Aspen (1-2) seems poised to follow in the footsteps of teams past with another losing season. In looking for a bright spot, Goode pointed to his quartet of running backs, the team’s youth – much of the starting lineup is comprised of freshmen and sophomores – and its physical style of play.”This is one of the best hitting teams we’ve had in years,” he said.
Juniors Paul Britvar and Jackson Davis and senior Hunter Baar split time in the backfield and they all ran hard.Davis scored the Skiers’ only touchdown behind key blocks from Baar and Britvar.Senior quarterback Pat Faurer had a tough day and threw four interceptions, but he played solid defense at linebacker. Gunnison running back David Vader scored two touchdowns while tight end/defensive end Wes Ochs was all over the field, reeling in a 22-yard pass from quarterback Brian Bollig for a touchdown in the third quarter before intercepting Faurer on Aspen’s next possession. Aspen hosts perennial powerhouse Roaring Fork on Saturday.Steve Benson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.