High School sports preview, Oct. 27 to Oct. 29
October 26, 2016
Soroco and Hayden football
Steamboat Springs — 7 p.m. Friday Soroco (5-3) vs. Hayden (3-5)
Rivalry implications aside, this is a huge game for Soroco. The Rams currently sit at No. 15 in the Colorado eight-man RPI standings. The top 16 teams go to the playoffs, so the team has no margin for error if it hopes to make the cut.
A few weeks ago this had the look of a tough game between two winning teams. Things haven't gone well for either program since, however. Soroco's lost its last two and fallen out of the Western Slope title race. Hayden, meanwhile, hasn't won a game or even scored a touchdown since it was 3-3 coming off a solid win against Rangely.
For the Tigers to pull this one out, they'll need to move the ball. Their recent injury situation — missing the rumbling freight train that is senior tailback Christian Carson — has made that extremely difficult, but if they want to knock off the Rams, they have to find a way.
Soroco, meanwhile, needs to patch its defense, which sprung leaks at the worst time in those two losses. If it can get a few holds on defense, the tandem of quarterback Isaac Jonas and tailback Jace Logan could be enough to win the game. The team doesn't play from behind as well, however, so getting those stops is critical.
7 p.m. Friday Steamboat (0-8) vs. Coal Ridge (1-7)
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Steamboat's best two chances for a win this season were sitting at the end of the schedule. The team gave all it had to take advantage of the first chance last week against Aspen but came up two points short in a 22-20 loss.
The next chance comes Friday at home against Coal Ridge. Junior running back Jeff Power has led the team on offense this season, averaging nearly 5 yards a carry. Stopping him will be critical, of course, but the story with Steamboat this season has been its own ability to score.
The team was vastly improved in that area last week, scoring 40 percent of the points from the whole season in one night against Aspen. Coach Lonn Clementson pointed to Canon Reece as one of the sparks of that fire. Reece served as a running back for the first time this season and shined, racking up 162 yards on 31 carries, good for 5.2 yards per attempt. Another such performance could very well get Steamboat into the win column.
6 p.m. Thursday Steamboat (10-11) at Eagle Valley (17-2)
1 p.m. Saturday Steamboat vs. Rifle (6-16)
The Sailors close their regular season with one that should be tough and one that shouldn't. The team's been hot and cold this season, however, so it's anyone's guess how it will finish.
Eagle Valley has wrapped up the Western Slope League championship and sits No. 2 in the Class 4A RPI rankings. In their first meeting this season, however, Steamboat managed what few other league opponents have: taking a set. The Sailors lost, 3-1, but won one of just four sets the Devils have given up during the league season.
Looking ahead to the regional tournament, coach Wendy Hall's attitude is, "Get in, play hard and see what happens." That's the same approach the Sailors should take with them to Eagle Valley. Show up, play hard and who knows?
Saturday at home against Rifle is more about taking care of business. The Bears are winless in league play but are coming off a victory against 3A's Basalt. A loss for Steamboat would be a brutal blow to their potential regional seeding.
Hayden and Soroco volleyball
Friday and Saturday Soroco (9-10) and Hayden (5-13) at District 5 tournament at Grand Valley High School
The Rams and Tigers both head to Parachute to play at Grand Valley High School in the district tournament.
Neither has an easy path to advance. The Rams are fresh off back-to-back, three-set losses to Vail Mountain and West Grand. Lucky Soroco, guess which teams await their district tournament pool? (Pssstttt… it's Vail Mountain and West Grand. Keep up, please.)
Hayden, meanwhile, will face Meeker, the league's third-place team, and Vail Christian.
To advance to the bracketed round of the tournament both Soroco and Hayden will need to play their best volleyball of the season. The Tigers put up stiff challenges against both of those opponents, so they have a blueprint for what they need to do.
For Soroco, Vail Mountain and West Grand represented two of their lesser performances this season, so this weekend offers a solid crack at redemption.