Six turnovers sink Skiers against Summit
It wasn’t the two-week break between games. That’s for certain.Aspen football coach Travis Benson made no excuses for his team’s six turnovers Saturday against visiting Summit in a 35-14 loss. Summit, rotating a bruising pack of running backs, made Aspen pay for its mistakes. Four of the Tigers’ five touchdowns came on drives following takeaways.”You can’t win a football game with six turnovers, pure and simple,” Benson said. “We were a little bit rusty today. I don’t know why. We had pretty crisp practices this week. When it comes down to it, you’ve got to control the football.”Both teams traded punts on their opening drives, before Aspen (1-1) threatened to score on its second offensive possession. The drive ended on the Summit 26-yard line when Aspen junior quarterback Whit Fuller was intercepted by Summit’s Tim Henning.The Tigers took the momentum and ran with it, needing only three plays to score. Summit junior wide receiver Drew Crangle finished the drive with a 36-yard reverse that fooled the Skiers’ defense.
A pattern then began to emerge. The Skiers drove down to the Summit 45 on the ensuing possession, but Fuller was sacked, and fumbled the ball, which Summit recovered. Nine plays later – all banging runs -Summit went up by two touchdowns when junior running back Robert Phipps hammered his way into the end zone from nine yards out.The Skiers’ turnover woes continued into the second half. Aspen tailback Jackson Davis lost a bobbled exchange from Fuller early in the third quarter, and Summit capitalized five plays later to take a 21-0 lead. Sophomore quarterback Harry Maniloff then spelled Fuller, but fumbled the ball away on his first exchange. Summit failed to score off that takeaway, but did score off the next one – a botched catch by sophomore Tucker Eason on a punt return. The Skiers did make things interesting after Summit took a 28-0 lead with 2:41 remaining in the third quarter. Maniloff ignited the Aspen offense with a 32-yard strike to junior Michael Ufkes on the first play of the ensuing Aspen drive. Then, on first-and-10 from the Tigers’ 38, Davis took a hand-off and went untouched through the Summit defense to the end zone. Trailing, 28-6, after Fuller missed the extra point, Davis pulled his team within two scores with a momentum-swinging interception return for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Using the tandem of Phipps and fellow junior Tim Henning, Summit had driven all the way down to the Aspen 26 before Tigers freshmen quarterback Talon Roggasch threw the pick. Roggasch had Aspen junior defensive tackle David Clark right in his face when he released the ball and apparently never saw Davis.Maniloff then connected with Ufkes on the two-point conversion, pulling the Skiers to within two touchdowns at 28-14.The momentum continued to swing in Aspen’s favor when Summit, on its own 14, gave the ball right back to the Skiers’ offense. Phipps was stripped as he charged through the line by Eason, setting up Aspen in perfect scoring position.A dramatic Skiers’ comeback was not to be, however. Aspen fullback Adam Huber lost yards on first down, then Maniloff threw incomplete before being sacked on third down. On fourth, Maniloff was unable to hook up with senior tight end Jay Stutsman on another incompletion.Summit took over on downs and took back control of the game, putting together an 8-play, 71-yard drive capped by a five-yard Billy Barto touchdown run.
On Aspen’s next possession, Maniloff drove the Skiers all the way down to the Summit 13, but was picked off in the corner of the end zone. Davis added another interception for the Skiers with less than two minutes to go, with the game all but decided. Summit coach Dylan Hollingsworth was pleased to pick up the win, but, like Benson, was disappointed by his team’s three turnovers. “What we’ve got to do is learn to play 48 straight minutes,” Hollingsworth said. “If we put together a full game, then we’re going to have a real good team. I know they had more turnovers, but the big deal for me is that if we don’t turn the ball over, we probably win that thing, 42-7, or 49-7.” Davis finished as Aspen’s leading rusher, going for 85 yards on 10 carries. Maniloff finished with 110 yards of passing, with six completions on 15 attempts and the one pick. Ufkes was the leading receiver with four catches for 92 yards.The Skiers next play at Gunnison Friday at 7 p.m.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is email@example.com.
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