Skiers are back in black
ASPEN Fans of Aspen High School football havent had many reasons to rush the field. On Friday night they did. Fueled by an efficient passing game, a stingy defense, and Tucker Easons 125 rushing yards and 12 tackles, the Skiers found themselves 2-1 thanks to a 14-6 victory over their downvalley rivals.It was the 2A Western Slope opener for both teams, and marked Aspens first win over Basalt (0-3) since 2003. The Skiers wont get any style points for this win, but that didnt matter to first-year coach Mike Sirko.We played with a big heart, Sirko said. We didnt play that well, but we played hard.Because of the game-ending celebration, Basalt coach Forrest Grosh wasnt reached for comment. While the Skiers offense ground it out for four quarters, it was a tough stand by the defense that secured the win. Facing fourth down and 10 on Aspens 29-yard line with 1:20 left in the game, Basalt quarterback Corey Ostranders desperation pass fell short of his target, and the celebration began. And when the buzzer sounded, fans flooded the field to bask in a win that put the Skiers above the .500 mark this late in the season since the schools varsity program was resurrected in 2002. Im so excited for this program, Sirko said. I just couldnt be more proud of these guys. That was a big win for us. Playing under the lights before a standing-room-only homecoming crowd, the Skiers managed to keep fans on the edge of their seats with a few tense moments, marked by a second-quarter injury to junior tailback Beau Seguin, who was sidelined with a separated shoulder. Seguin had been quarterback Anderson Coles favorite target in the first half, catching four passes for 38 yards, while chalking up eight yards on six carries.
But with Seguin down, the load was put on senior running back Eason. He did not disappoint, scampering five yards for a touchdown with 2:45 remaining in the second quarter, and connecting on a two-point conversion that gave the Skiers an 8-0 lead they took into intermission. Tucker really stepped it up tonight, Sirko said.
Indeed, Eason was the workhorse on both sides of the bill. Not only did he average five yards per carry on 25 totes, he also racked up his dozen tackles, including a key stuff during Basalts final drive of the game. Skier sophomore quarterback Anderson Cole didnt put up lofty numbers, but his mistakes were few. Cole connected on nine of 12 passes for 74 yards, his lone miscue coming with an interception with less than 30 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Basalt, however, failed to capitalize. In the third quarter, the Skiers chewed up a good six minutes on the clock en route to a 56-yard drive, culminating with a two-yard touchdown run by junior running back Travis VanDomelen. The extra point was blocked, but the Skiers held what seemed to be a comfortable 14-0 margin late in the third. The Longhorns finally put together a sustained drive in the fourth quarter, punctuated by a 15-yard touchdown run by Matt Schoeller. The extra point was blocked. The Skiers had difficulty getting on track in the first quarter, mainly because of a rash of penalties. A first-quarter touchdown by the Skiers was called back because of illegal procedure, which was followed by a 28-yard field goal attempt that just missed. And later in the first quarter, a 22-yard touchdown completion to Cory Parker was nullified because of a holding call. The offense then sputtered with an incomplete pass, a holding call and a botched reverse play, forcing the Skiers to punt from Basalts 30-yardline, and pinning the Longhorns inside the 10. As the team gathered at the end of the game, Sirko extended praise to his squad, while letting them know theres more work to do. Im proud of you all, he said. Tomorrow you get to sleep in until 8:30. Rick Carrolls e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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