Roaring Fork runs over Skiers
The celebration is over.One week after winning its first football game in more than a year, Aspen (1-4 overall, 1-2 2A Western Slope) was beaten handily after visiting Roaring Fork. The Rams drove 77 yards on the game’s first drive, which culminated in a touchdown run, and never looked back, shutting out the Skiers, 35-0.”We played well for a while, just not consistently,” Aspen head coach Travis Benson said. “Roaring Fork is a good football team, and they’ll contend for the league [title].”The Rams, fresh off a 26-7 win over Hotchkiss, flexed their muscle early, racking up yards and first downs on the way to the end zone. Senior tailback Tyler Hunt shook off multiple tacklers on a 14-yard touchdown scamper up the middle three minutes in. Hunt rushed for 21 yards on the seven-play, 77-yard drive. Rams senior Trevor Hunt stretched the lead to 14 when he followed his blockers for a 3-yard touchdown run seconds before the half.
An Aspen miscue – Skiers senior Tom Curren fumbled the ball on his own 29 and Roaring Fork recovered – set up the scoring drive. “Our defense would stop them one play, then all of sudden they’d be running it down our throat,” Benson said. “We have to be more consistent.”The Rams exposed holes in the Aspen defensive secondary in the waning minutes of the second quarter. The Rams, who started yet another drive with good field position, strung together a nine-play scoring drive that covered 50 yards and bled nearly 4 1/2 minutes off the clock. Junior quarterback Jake Kinney completed a 14-yard slant to Tyler Hunt and a 5-yard pass to Torrey Udall in succession. Kinney connected with Kyle Raaflaub from eight yards out on a fade route to the corner of the end zone.All told, the Rams had possession for all but eight minutes in the first half.Roaring Fork led by three scores at halftime, a deficit that would’ve been larger had the Skiers defense not stiffened. The Rams drove the ball to the Aspen 6-yard line minutes into the second, after Kinney connected with Tyler Hunt for a 23-yard reception. After two errant incompletions, Hunt took the snap on third down and pushed ahead three yards. He got the ball again on fourth down, and a charging Skiers front line stopped him inches from the goal line.
The Skiers offense, however, could not capitalize. Of the 19 yards Aspen gained during the following drive, 15 came on a personal foul. Aspen had to punt.Aspen struggled for continuity on offense. It didn’t help, Benson said, that the Skiers were constantly battling from behind.”The entire second half, we were playing catch-up. That forced us into some uncomfortable situations,” he said. “When we come out, and the defense is expecting what we’re going to throw at them, it’s tough.”The Skiers opened the second half with the ball and was looking to orchestrate a scoring drive. Those hopes were quickly dashed as they ran four plays and gained one yard. The possession lasted just 50 seconds. “It wasn’t their defensive line, it was their blitzing linebackers that gave us problems,” Aspen senior lineman David Clark said. “I felt if we played our best, we could get a win, and I still feel that way. We just had too many mistakes.”
Roaring Fork, which was stopped on fourth down and could not capitalize on Tyler Hunt’s interception near midfield during its two possessions in the third, made Aspen pay for its turnover to open the fourth. Beirne, who was flushed out of the pocket on a third-and-five play at the Skiers 40, was sacked and lost the ball. The Rams capped a nine-play, 43-yard drive with a touchdown run by Tyler Hunt.Trevor Hunt picked off a pass by Harry Maniloff, inserted into the lineup after Beirne left with an injury, at the Aspen 18-yard line late in the fourth. Two plays later, Trevor Hunt bounced a run to the outside, fumbled the ball forward, then recovered it in the end zone. The extra point made it 35-0 with 1:58 remaining.Aspen turned the ball over on downs during their final possession of the game. “It’s disappointing because I think we’re a better football team and we can play with this team,” Benson said. “Next week will be a good gut check.”Jon Maletz’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.