Glenwood downs Steamboat to end Sailors’ season
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs High School football team couldn’t dash league foe Glenwood Springs’ playoff hopes Friday night, but even through the season-ending loss, coach Lonn Clementson was looking ahead, not backward.
Looking in the recent past shows the turmoil the Sailors had to deal with in 2014, especially in the final third of the schedule, where injuries dug the team in a big, big hole. That big hole spelled out 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 to Glenwood, 42-28, amounting to the Sailors’ third straight 4-6 record.
Make the playoffs like Glenwood most likely will? No, not this year for Steamboat. But there’s a bit more hope on the horizon, Clementson explained, and it started with 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.”
Though Clementson isn’t an excuse maker, the Glenwood Springs loss can be largely atributed 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 taken a kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown.
But even with highly touted Demons quarterback Dante Sparaco dishing out 128 yards worth of passes and churning in 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 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.”
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