Glenwood downs Steamboat, 42-28, to end Sailors’ season |

Glenwood downs Steamboat, 42-28, to end Sailors’ season

Glenwood Springs quarterback Dante Sparaco tries to evade Steamboat Springs senior Mitch McCannon in the first half of the Demons' 42-28 win at Gardner Field Friday night. Sparaco accounted for three touchdowns and helped the Demons hang on when Steamboat rallied.
Ben Ingersoll

— The Steamboat Springs High School football team couldn’t dash league foe Glenwood Springs’ playoff hopes Friday night, but despite the 42-28 season-ending loss, Sailors coach Lonn Clementson was looking ahead, not backward.

Reviewing the recent past shows the turmoil the Sailors had to deal with in 2014, especially in the final third of the schedule, when injuries dug the team into a big, big hole. That big hole included three-consecutive losses, all by at least three touchdowns, a few featuring the running-clock rule.

Friday night was different, though, Clementson said, even though his team fell short, resulting in the Sailors’ third straight 4-6 record.

Make the playoffs like Glenwood most likely will? No, not this year for Steamboat.

But according to Clementson, there’s a bit more hope on the horizon, and it was sparked by the effort given by a scrappy Sailors team to close out the year.

“I felt we competed the best we did all year,” Clementson said. “Our kids could have mailed it in after the Rifle loss (47-3). We lost three in a row in the middle. When you don’t win for a month, go on the road and win last week against Summit, then come home and play as hard as our kids played, it was the most complete game of the year.”

Although Clementson isn’t an excuse maker, the Glenwood Springs loss can be attributed largely to a very shaky start for the Sailors.

Steamboat fell behind big early on, succombing to a 28-7 first-half deficit that would have been a four-touchdown hole had senior Mitch McCannon not returned a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown.

But even with highly touted Demons quarterback Dante Sparaco dishing out 128 yards worth of passes and another 105 yards on the ground, the Sailors simply wouldn’t go away.

Steamboat pulled within two touchdowns three separate times after Glenwood marched to its big lead, but the Sailors never could rally when it mattered most.

The effort made Clementson happy, but it also opened the eyes of Glenwood coach Rocky Whitworth, who knows the Sailors well after coaching against them when they marched to the state championship game in 2009.

“Forty-two points? That’s generally enough to win,” Whitworth said. “Steamboat hung in there. I’m proud of them. Happy to see that program is coming back.”

The Sailors still have a long road ahead to return to that 2009 form, especially after allowing the Demons to rack up 450 yards of offense, but Clementson believes seniors like McCannon and company had something special, and he’s hoping the underclassmen take notice as they move into the offseason.

“The seniors, they laid a groundwork,” Clementson said. “They created the best locker room environment in a long time. They helped set us up for a great offseason.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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