Seguin, Aspen scorch Gunnison
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
APSEN ” Aspen’s Beau Seguin panted heavily as he strolled toward the sideline in the second quarter Friday and dropped to one knee.
The senior told coaches who soon surrounded him that he was having trouble breathing ” a lingering effect of an injury he sustained last week against Roaring Fork. Still, Seguin refused to be taken out of the game, his last on Aspen’s turf.
He soon left the Gunnison defense gasping for air. After Skiers safety Walker Moriarty picked off a lazy pass from Cowboys quarterback Nicanor Garcia, Seguin jogged into the offensive huddle. On the ensuing play, he sprinted past a Gunnison corner and down the left sideline, extended both hands to haul in a perfect pass from Anderson Cole and scampered in for a 47-yard score.
Despite playing sparingly in the second half, Seguin piled up more than 200 yards rushing for a second straight game and extended his school touchdown record with three scores. The Skiers scored 42 unanswered points in the final three quarters, their defense stifled the winless Cowboys and they rolled to a 49-6 senior night victory to finish unbeaten at home for a second straight year.
“I love being on this field, and I’m going to miss it for sure,” said Seguin, choking back tears. “I’m excited to have gotten this opportunity … This is the greatest feeling, a great way to end my career.”
That career is far from over. With a win in its regular-season finale Friday on the road against Coal Ridge, Aspen (7-2 overall, 4-2 2A Western Slope) will likely clinch a spot in the state tournament. Twelve of the 16 postseason bids go to teams who finished first or second in their respective leagues, while the remaining four wild card spots are doled out to the best of the remaining squads.
The Skiers made their case for a berth Friday ” after overcoming a sluggish start. In addition to being whistled for six first-half penalties, Aspen turned the ball over on downs and lost a fumble in its first three possessions. On the latter, a Gunnison defender drilled Seguin, jarred the ball loose and the Cowboys came away with possession at the Aspen 11-yard line.
Garcia scored on a 5-yard keeper as Gunnison pulled to within one at 7-6.
“I think some of these seniors were really emotional ” maybe I put too much emphasis on this game being their last,” Skiers head coach Mike Sirko said. “You have to give [Gunnison] credit. They came out and got after it in the first half, and we were a little slow out the gates. … Then things started to click.”
After the Gunnison score, Aspen fullback Travis VanDomelen capped a 12-play, 66-yard drive when he bulled his way in from the 1. Moriarty picked off a pass on the ensuing Cowboys possession, handing the ball back to the offense 47 yards from the end zone.
It took just one play to cover that distance, as Cole dropped back to the 50, then lofted a tight spiral to Seguin, who trotted in for his second touchdown to stretch the lead to 21-6. Earlier, Seguin scored on a 29-yard run up the left sideline.
He recorded his school-record 28th touchdown late in the third quarter, taking a pitch from Cole at the Gunnison 11 and eluding a tackler in the backfield before finding a small seam up the middle.
“We really started believing and playing like we can,” Sirko said.
Seguin watched much of the fourth quarter from the sideline as he continued to experience shortness of breath.
“Something happened. I got hit in the chest last week and now it’s tough to breathe,” said Seguin, who finished with 208 yards on 24 carries. “Every time I got in there, I couldn’t catch my breath.”
“I think he took a shot and might have bruised himself,” Sirko added. “That’s why we kept him out late. … He’ll be OK. The kid’s a warrior.”
Nicky Ufkes scored two touchdowns down the stretch ” on a 50-yard punt return and a 20-yard sweep play. Junior varsity quarterback Rex Christensen found the end zone on a 3-yard keeper with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth to finish off the reigning league champions.
Gunnison handed Aspen its lone league loss last season and denied the Skiers the conference title in the process. While the Slope crown wasn’t on the line Friday, Aspen earned a measure of redemption.
And, more important, The Skiers kept their playoff hopes alive.
“It’s going to be big,” Seguin said of Friday’s game against the Titans. “We’ll win. We have to.”
In other action Friday, Basalt dropped it’s home finale to league leader and fifth-ranked Olathe, 55-21. The Longhorns (3-6, 1-5) close out the regular season with a trip to Gunnison on Friday.
Basalt head coach Carl Frerichs could not be reached for comment.
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