Skiers score four first-half touchdowns, rout Bruins
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Aspen wide receiver Walker Moriarty was certain the pass would be batted away.
On the first play of the Skiers’ second drive in the first quarter of Friday night’s homecoming game against Cedaredge, the junior burst off the line and gained some separation as he ran a fade up the left sideline. Junior quarterback Anderson Cole rolled out of the pocket, then fired a pass to Moriarty that nearly skimmed a Bruins cornerback’s outstretched hands.
Moriarty pulled the ball in and somehow managed to stay on his feet as he broke away for the end zone. The 55-yard connection erased the frustration that lingered after the previous play ” a long punt return from Nicky Ufkes that was negated by a block in the back ” and put the quick-strike Skiers ahead, 14-0, with 4 minutes, 25 seconds left in the quarter.
“The way the coverage was set up, it turned out to be the right play,” Moriarty said. “I thought [the defender] was going to get. It missed him by an inch or two. Luckily it did.”
Aspen (5-0 overall, 2-0 2A Western Slope) didn’t need luck on this night. It scored touchdowns on all four of its first-half possessions ” two in the air and two on the legs of tailback Beau Seguin ” the defense frustrated the Bruins all night en route to its second-consecutive shutout and the Skiers rolled, 41-0.
The schedule gets tougher from here on out. But Friday, players, coaches and a large homecoming crowd spilling from the bleachers were left savoring the school’s first 5-0 start in recent history.
“With all the distractions that come with homecoming, I thought we played well,” Aspen head coach Mike Sirko said. “We were pretty focused, but at times we didn’t execute … I’m hoping we continue to improve.”
There were no problems with execution during the game’s opening drive in which the Skiers covered 65 yards in 11 plays. Seguin capped the 4:56 possession when he took a hand-off on third-and-2 from the Cedaredge 18 then bounced outside, faked out a defender with a quick stutter step and scampered up the left sideline.
In stark contrast to his team’s earlier wins, Seguin was used sparingly Friday. Despite piling up just 69 yards on the ground, the senior still managed to score three touchdowns ” all in the first 16 minutes. Six plays after Moriarty recovered a fumble at the Aspen 32, Cole hit Seguin on a curl on fourth-and-3; Seguin shed a tackler en route to the 24-yard score two minutes into the second half. The Skiers were 4-for-4 on fourth down in the game.
Seguin scored from six yards out to stretch the lead to 28 four minutes before halftime.
“He came up big early, and we tried to get him out a little bit,” Sirko said of Seguin. “He’s going to have some wear and tear on him the next few weeks.”
While the offense continued its torrent early-season pace ” the Skiers are averaging more than 45 points a game ” the defense held the Bruins at bay. They forced two four-and-outs and recovered a fumble on Cedaredge’s first three possessions.
Ufkes, who shouldered much of the load in the offensive backfield with 96 yards on 12 carries, came away with an interception late in the second that was called back after a roughing the passer penalty. Despite the gaffe, the Skiers stood tall on fourth down later in the drive, forcing an incomplete pass and a turnover on downs at their own 30 to halt a nine-play Bruins drive.
Ufkes (four yards) and Daniel Ryerson (one yard) added touchdown runs in the second half as Aspen steadily pulled away.
“We all felt the pride and we wanted to do this for the seniors and for the coaches,” Moriarty said. “We knew they had beaten Coal Ridge, so we were expecting a good game. With this being homecoming and there being a lot of pressure, we were all ready.”
Sirko said he hopes his team is ready Friday, when the team travels to Grand Valley for a battle between two of the Slope’s unbeatens. The Cardinals handed the Skiers a two-touchdown loss last season, in the Sirko’s second game at Aspen.
“It’s going to be a great game, and I’m excited for the opportunity,” Sirko said. “Now the season starts for real.”
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