Early-season mistakes are OK for Bayfield High School head football coach Gary Heide, so long as his team learns from them.
And he believes that will be the case after a Week 1 loss. The Wolverines’ offense struggled, and a normally stout defense came out flat in a 42-13 defeat to San Juan (Utah) last Friday at Wolverine Country Stadium.
The Wolverines (0-1) will find out what they’re made of when they hit the road to play Aspen High School (0-0) at noon Saturday for the Skiers’ season-opener.
When the teams met last season, the Skiers had the Wolverines on the ropes. BHS had six red zone trips that came up short and needed two late touchdown runs to pull away for a 20-8 win.
Heide said getting back in the win column starts on the practice field.
“First of all, I need our guys to have the energy to want to practice, and the energy and mentality to want to get better,” Heide said. “I think that will lead to some corrections from the coaching staff to get kids in better places, design some better plays and move the ball. We’re going to try to accentuate our talents and find out exactly what those are. What we’ve got to do is cover all of our bases, take one step at a time and be a better football team next week. If we are doing that, we’re going to feel really good, and, hopefully, it will get us rolling.”
Aspen has a number of returning players on a squad that made the first round of last year’s Colorado High School Activities Association’s Class 2A playoffs. It starts with junior quarterback Tyler Ward, who threw for 2,202 yards, 26 touchdowns and just eight interceptions last season. Also expected to return is senior running back Trey Fabrocini, who rushed for 696 yards on 94 carries and scored eight touchdowns. Another option the Skiers relied heavily on was Max Ufkes, who is now a senior. He was AHS’ leading receiver last year with 50 receptions for 920 yards and averaged 18.4 yards per catch and caught 10 touchdown passes.
As a team, Aspen averaged 226 passing yards per game while rushing for 120. The Skiers found the end zone 41 times, 27 of them came from the air. Last year against the Wolverines, Ward went 19-of-39 for 162 yards and threw one interception.
Last week against the Broncos, Cade Carlson led the Wolverines with 52 yards on 10 carries, while Cael Schaefer had six carries for 28 yards. In his debut, sophomore quarterback Isaac Ross went 5-of-18 for 31 yards. Heide said he is looking to expand on the run game for the Week 2 matchup.
“I think it was just one of those things that we might try to accentuate,” Heide said. “I can see Cade is a quick hitter, those quick hitters up the middle with a couple of counter-steps we got going, so we’re going to try and use him a little more. I think Isaac will come around, too. He had some good passes, and everybody kind of had the same night. I think those things will come together.”
Carlson also believes that if BHS can get its run game going, it will be a tough team to beat Saturday.
“We know what we need to work on now,” Carlson said. “We need to get into the film room and see what we did wrong. We’re looking to fix those mistakes, and hopefully, we’ll do better against Aspen. I think offensively is where we need to build ourselves (up) more. ”
Despite what the scoreboard showed last Friday, Heide said his team will be ready for Week 2.
“I think the game was right there at the cusp,” Heide said.
“I really believe there’s going to be a marked improvement from the first game to the second game. I think that will help us having a game under our belt, and I think (Aspen) is going to see a different football team.”