Perfect no more: Skiers fall to Grand Valley for second straight year |

Perfect no more: Skiers fall to Grand Valley for second straight year

Jeff CaspersenGlenwood Springs correspondentAspen, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

PARACHUTE, Colo. Colton Cowan needed maybe an inch. He covered that and an additional 24 yards, 35 inches, busting loose for a 25-yard gain on a fourth-down play that sealed Grand Valleys 33-20 football win over No. 10 Aspen on Friday night.I just saw that 1 yard I needed to get, lowered my shoulder, broke a tackle and got a push, said Cowan, who finished with 154 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 19 carries.With his team up 26-20 and facing fourth-and-inches on the Aspen 45-yard-line with just 2 minutes, 28 seconds remaining, Grand Valley called Cowans number. And he delivered the second of two fourth-down conversions on a final drive that spanned 77 yards and chewed up 5 minutes, 21 seconds.A play after the critical conversion, the 6-foot-2, 204-pound feature back took a pitch and sprinted 20 yards up the left sideline for an insurance touchdown as the Cardinals got the leg up in what will undoubtedly be a down-to-the-wire race for the 2A Western Slope League title.We were fired up right after that run, Cowan said.Grand Valley improved to 5-1 overall and to 3-0 in league, the latter mark square with Olathe atop the standings. Aspen dropped to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in conference.It took only until the opening kickoff for Fridays meeting of league stalwarts to live up to its billing.Taking the kick from his own 6, Aspens Beau Seguin found all kinds of room up the right sideline for a 94-yard kickoff return to the end zone to put the Skiers up, 7-0.But Grand Valley scrapped back behind the bruising running of Cowan. The backs eight carries and 38 yards served as the bulk of a 13-play, 58-yard scoring drive that ended with his 7-yard touchdown run that tied the game with 1:59 left in the opening quarter.It was a drive kept alive by a gutsy call on fourth-and-8 from the Cardinals own 44.Punter Michael Shepard took the snap and broke up the right sideline, shaking off a tackle in the midst of a 16-yard run that caught the Skiers off guard.Aspen responded to Cowans TD run with a 21-yard field goal from Daniel Munger with 1:55 left until halftime.The Cardinals one-upped the Skiers, though, riding high into halftime as quarterback Ryan Gallegos hit Cowan with a pass into one-on-one coverage. Cowan reached up over a smaller defender and broke away for a 55-yard score that put his team up, 13-10 at the break.Grand Valley struck for 13 points to start the third quarter.The first of two touchdowns came when Gallegos found a diving, sideline-toeing Landon Paskett in the right flat on a 4-yard touchdown reception on the teams opening drive, one that covered 69 yards.Michael Shepard intercepted Aspen quarterback Anderson Cole on the Skiers ensuing possession, setting up a short drive capped by a 1-yard plunge plunge by the Cardinals William Waugh. A bad snap on the extra point, the Cardinals second of the night, left the score at 26-10.Aspen responded with a touchdown late in the third when Cole hit Seguin with a 13-yard scoring strike. The Skiers added a field goal midway through the fourth this one a 26-yarder off the foot of Munger.The resulting count 26-20 was as close as Aspen would get.Nothing but respect to Aspen, said Grand Valley interim head coach Jeremy Tanner, whos filling in for Mike Johnson while he recovers from an appendectomy-related infection. That was a great game of football.Johnson did make the game, sitting up in the coaches box. What he saw no doubt made the trip worth it.On top of Cowans bloated rushing total, the senior added 76 receiving yards on three catches.Gallegos finished the game 8-of-12 passing for 101 yards. Eric Glaze rushed for 40 yards on seven carries and Paskett had two interceptions on defense, including one on the final play of the game.Seguin paced the Skiers offense with 75 yards on 20 carries, while Cole completed 15 of 24 passes for 207 yards.Aspen gets a chance to help not only itself but Grand Valley next week when it travels to face Olathe, ranked ninth in 2A by RockyPreps.All weve got to do is come out hitting and beat Olathe and let the cards fall where they may, Aspen senior Travis VanDomelen said.While the Pirates and Skiers go at it, the Cardinals will be in Carbondale facing Roaring Fork.

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