Luke Graham: Now this is an offense |

Luke Graham: Now this is an offense

Luke Graham

— If you’re a fan of the Steamboat Springs High School football team, you should be giddy right now.

If you’re a defensive coordinator in the Western Slope League, you’re sick to your stomach.

Although two Steamboat wins in a row don’t make a season, it’s pretty easy to tell what type of team this is. The 2007 Sailors are similar in a lot of ways to last year’s team.

There’s the attention to detail, constant improvement and subtle confidence that starts at the top with coach Aaron Finch and trickles down to each player.

While last year’s defense was probably better – former Sailors Lane Shipley and Westin Cofer are playing at the collegiate level – the 2007 version of the Steamboat offense is better.

It’s more versatile.

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It’s more explosive.

It’s more fun to watch.

Friday’s game against Moffat County didn’t even scratch the surface, and that’s scary.

It didn’t matter what play Finch dialed from the “Pistol Formation,” it worked. Steamboat was so balanced and unpredictable, the Sailors probably could have put up 70 points – and that’s not a joke.

It’s what makes Steamboat so scary. Especially considering the team’s only going to get better. They’ve got guys at every skill position with the ability to score from anywhere on the field.

Every time Nigel Hammond touches the ball, hold your breath. Of his past four receptions, three of them have gone for touchdowns of more than 20 yards.

The same could be said for Alex Wood and Matt Lettunich.

In the backfield, it’s hard to ignore Jay Hanley. While the former workhorse has taken a different role on this year’s team, becoming more of a lead blocker for Hammond, if the past two years are any indication, he still knows how to get to the end zone.

And the Sailors get back Cody Harris this week after the sophomore missed two games from a lacerated kidney. Prior to the injury, Harris was the Sailors’ leading receiver.

The Sailors also return Joe Dover this week. Dover may match Hammond in athleticism – those of you who watched the junior varsity team last year know why coaches around the league asked “who is that kid?”

Oh yeah, the Sailors are led by quarterback Austin Hinder, who’s just rolled up 771 yards of total offense and 10 touchdowns while completing 67 percent of his passes.

So, to look ahead to Friday night against Delta, Steamboat could roll out this lineup: Hinder at quarterback, flanked by Hanley at fullback with Wood, Dover and Hammond out wide and Lettunich and Harris exchanging downs at tight end.


That’s reason for celebration in Steamboat, and a call for antacids around the rest of the league.

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

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