Sailors ready for top team |

Sailors ready for top team

Luke Graham

Steamboat's Eric Bonner rushes the ball during the first half of the Sailors' homecoming game victory against Montezuma-Cortez at Gardner Field in Steamboat Springs on Friday night.

— Don’t look now, but the Steamboat Springs High School football team has put itself in a position to not only get in the playoffs, but possibly change a 2-3 start into a league championship.

With a matchup against undefeated and Class 3A No. 1 Glenwood Springs on Friday, a Steamboat win would vault the Sailors into a three-way tie atop the Western Slope League.

While Glenwood poses a big threat, and is a group that Steamboat coach Aaron Finch called the best team he’s seen all year, it’s hard not to like what the Sailors have done the past three weeks.

Albeit against lesser teams than Glenwood, Steamboat’s offense has scored 41 points a game, while the first-team defense has given up one touchdown.

“We did some of the things really well,” Finch said. “We kept the pressure on and both sides of ball are getting better.”

Perhaps Steamboat’s most complete game of the year came in Friday’s 46-7 win against Montezuma-Cortez.

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In all parts of the game, Steamboat dominated.

The defense caused six turnovers giving the offense short fields to score.

The offense scored on its first seven possessions of the game and kicker Ben DeLine connected on his only field goal of the game.

All the more impressive, Steamboat did it without the service of three starters in Joe Dover, Nigel Hammond and Andrew Houk.

All were out with injuries.

With as many as six sophomores on the field at once, Steamboat never missed a beat.

“We converted first downs, scored inside the red zone, had one halfway long drive, and then finished it,” Finch said. “All of those things you need to do to be successful.”

While no doubt the Sailors are a confident bunch, Finch said the main characteristic of this year’s team is something a little different.

Unsure of what role this team would fill coming into the season, and having battled numerous injuries, Finch said there’s an aura around the team that things will go right.

“This team’s really resilient,” Finch said. “They’re confident but there’s that sense no matter what’s thrown at us, we’ll get it done.”

The Sailors will need all that resiliency come Friday night in Glenwood.

Finch said there’s certainly a reason the Demons are ranked the top team in Class 3A.

Glenwood quarterback Dakota Stonehouse – possibly the top quarterback in the Class and maybe the state – has thrown for more than 1,200 yards and scored 25 touchdowns.

“Stonehouse makes the all the throws and every receiver makes it look easy,” Finch said. “We just started looking at film and they are a great football team. But those are the fun ones. It’s more fun getting ready for a challenge like Glenwood.”