High School sports preview, Sept. 15 to Sept. 17
Steamboat Springs — 6 p.m. Thursday Steamboat (4-1) at Rifle (0-4)
11 a.m. Saturday Steamboat vs. Centaurus (5-0)
It’s a “show-me” kind of weekend for the Steamboat soccer team.
First, they’ll need to show they can win a game they should Thursday at Rifle. The Sailors haven’t battled the Bears since 2013, and the years haven’t been kind to Rifle. The team went 2-13 a year ago and is off to an 0-4 start this season. It does return one of its leading scorers, Alexis Ramos, who again is a team leader this season.
Saturday is the chance for Steamboat to show it can hang with one of the state’s top teams. Centaurus has opened its season undefeated and was ranked ninth in the most recent poll by CHSAANow.com.
Steamboat won the matchup in thrilling fashion last year, 1-0 at Dick’s Sporting Good Park, but faces a tough task this season. Centaurus returns its second leading goal scorer, Miguel Ramirez, who already has five scores this season, and added another incredibly potent threat in freshman Christian Nunez, who’s scored six times.
7 p.m. Friday Steamboat (0-2) vs. Glenwood Springs (0-2)
Steamboat and Glenwood will meet as two struggling teams Friday, both looking for their first win. For the Sailors to be the ones to grab it, they need to find some offensive production.
The team has scored one offensive touchdown in its two games and has averaged about 160 yards per game. Rushing especially has been lacking, generating about 30 yards per game.
Glenwood may offer the Sailors the right opportunity to jump start that offense. Matthew Hansen did provide some spark running the ball in the team’s last game against Summit and getting him rolling would be a great sign for Steamboat.
The Sailors beat the Demons a year ago, 14-9, but coach Lonn Clementson doesn’t expect it to be easy.
“They’re another tough 3A team. They’re well coached, and their kids are pretty darned disciplined,” he said. “I’m expecting a hard-hitting, tough game.”
Friday and Saturday at Longmont tournament
It’s another long road trip for the Steamboat boys tennis team with yet another tournament waiting at the end of it. This week, the squad makes the trip to Longmont.
The Sailors will be competing with their full varsity roster for the first time this season and that gives the squad hope to repeat as champs of the event. That’s far from a sure thing, of course, considering the tough Front Range competition it will see.
It won’t amount to quite the test the team got last weekend at the Western Slope Open in Grand Junction, but the draw will include some of the best in the area, and if Steamboat hopes to make noise at this year’s state tournament, this weekend would be a great time to show it’s capable.
“We’ll have some high expectations based off how we did last season, but there will be stiff competition,” coach Joseph O’Dell said.
Steamboat Springs and Soroco cross country
Saturday at Eagle Valley
Both the Rams and the Sailors have had strong starts to the season and will look to keep pace with their expectations as they head south to Eagle Valley.
Each team’s top regional and state contenders have separated themselves. Look for Winter Boese and the Steamboat girls cross country team to be there late in the season, as will Ben Kelley and Chloe Veilleux for Soroco.
Eagle Valley may offer a great opportunity for some other runners who’ve been further down the results to stretch their legs and log a good result against area competition.
1 p.m. Saturday Hayden (1-1) at South Park (0-2)
After several downtrodden years, the Tigers were just a couple of plays away in their game against Justice from starting the season 2-0.
They’ll have to settle for the chance to start 2-1 if they can get the best of South Park on Saturday afternoon. South Park hasn’t won, but it’s been at its best passing the ball.
Quarterback Riley Elliott, a junior, has averaged 140 yards per game and thrown for four touchdowns this season. He’s also been the team’s leading rusher, averaging 34 yards per game.
Like Hayden, the Burros are young, with just three seniors on their roster. They in turn have eight juniors, meaning they could be a team poised to improve quickly.
If Hayden’s to get the win, it needs to rack up a few turnovers to slow down Elliott and force the Burros to try and run the ball. On the other end, the Tigers found big success last week rushing with quarterback Garrett St. Clair. They need to keep that train moving but find some help to keep him from absorbing all of the game’s hits.
6:30 p.m. Friday Hayden (1-4) at Vail Mountain (2-0)
The Tigers have a chance to turn their first win of the season, which they picked up last weekend, into some real momentum as they head toward the heart of their schedule.
Hayden plays Friday at Vail Mountain, a squad off to a 2-0 start to the season.
Coach Dayna Hunter said it wasn’t any one strong player that helped Hayden get that victory against Hotchkiss, but a strong effort from the whole team. It’ll take more of that against Vail Mountain.
The Gore Rangers beat Hayden in both of last year’s match-ups, though the Tigers did push one to four sets. If they play well together Friday, they could do more than simply force an extra set.
7 p.m. Friday Soroco (2-1) at Rangely (2-0)
The Rams are entering the Rangely portion of their schedule, as they’ll face the Panthers on the road Friday in a non-league game and again, this time at home for a league matchup, in their next game Sept. 30.
They’re hoping to find two winnable games.
Soroco won last year’s game handily, 42-28, but Rangely is off to a strong start so far this season, including a win against Dove Creek, a strong program in recent seasons.
The Panthers have gotten it done on the ground and largely on the back of sophomore quarterback Devin Ramirez, who’s averaged 160 yards per game rushing. Passing and rushing, he’s accounted for 10 of the team’s 12 touchdowns this season.
Defense has been one thing the Rams have needed to shore up, too. They’ve dominated much of the two games they’ve won but have given up 28 points in each. Combined with their one loss, they’re surrendering nearly 31 points per game.
That’s fine when the offense is humming — it’s straight up roaring now, thanks in large part to tailback Jace Logan — but it could eventually prove a serious problem.
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Construction on Sleeping Giant School has moved mostly inside as the roughly 100-person crew continues the push to complete the building by the end of summer.