High school sports weekend preview for Oct. 28 to Oct. 31
Steamboat Springs — 6:30 p.m. today: Steamboat (18-3) at Battle Mountain (14-7)
It all comes down to this for the Sailors. A win Thursday at Battle Mountain means they’re champions of the Western Slope League and all-but assured to play host to a home regional pod. A loss means they’re in a four-way tie for first where the tiebreaking rules do not favor them and are all but assured to hit the road again for regionals.
Steamboat Springs had two big stumbles this season, if losing to other top teams in the league can be considered stumbles. Both came at home, and in every big league road game, the Sailors have answered the bell and played their best. The team was certainly at its best Tuesday as it routed Summit at home on senior night.
It’ll need to be that good again Thursday — defending well, setting accurately and hitting powerfully — because the Huskies are mighty motivated to defend their home court and grab their own piece of that league title.
7 p.m. Friday: Steamboat (2-6) vs. Summit (1-7)
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Friday’s senior night opponent is not one of the top-ranked teams in the state. It has looked decidedly human this season, and the Sailors have a good chance to win.
Indeed, it almost feels like something’s wrong in that, for the first time in nearly a month and a half, the Sailors will be lining up opposite a team that doesn’t harbor state championship hopes, and playing one-win Summit is an opportunity for Steamboat.
So how does the team seize that opportunity? Channeling some of the skill the team displayed in a 28-21 loss at Eagle Valley would be a great place to start. Some who saw the team play that night said it looked as good as it has since 2009, when it ran to the state championship game.
The next two weeks, against Summit and Glenwood Springs, will sort out which team ends up at the bottom of the league. If it plays as well as it has at times this season, Steamboat can definitely climb the ladder out of that hole.
Soroco vs. Hayden football
7 p.m. Friday: Soroco (3-4) at Hayden (1-6)
It wasn’t long ago the Tigers dominated this series, but for the past two years, it’s been all about Soroco as the Rams have won those games by a combined score of 75-13. Are they on the verge of a third consecutive win? They’d better be, at least if they want to keep their hopes of a spot in the 8-man state playoffs alive.
A win would cement Soroco as the No. 2 team in the Western Slope League with a 3-1 record. That’s no guarantee of moving on to the 16-team playoff bracket, however, and a year ago, the Rams were left out in a very similar situation.
At its best, Soroco’s been able to move the ball on the ground with several different tailbacks, and it’s been able to play physically against opponents. Maintaining both offensive potency and the ability to muscle an opponent around will be key against the Tigers.
For Hayden, winning the game would mean getting its own backfield in gear, including strong games from running backs Garrett Camilletti and Christian Carson and quarterback Keyen Camilletti. The Tigers have a very young team, so a win in this intra-county rivalry could help the program.
Noon, Friday: Soroco (10-8) at District tournament, Grand Valley
The Rams season sweep of Vail Mountain ensured it a third-place finish in the Gore Division of District 5, and that means at very least a pair of big matches Saturday in Grand Valley at the district tournament.
The teams are divided into three three-team pools, and the winners of each pool will advance to a Saturday championship round.
There’s no easy path to Saturday. Soroco’s in a pool with Mesa Division champion Cedaredge, then Mesa fourth-place finisher Meeker. Cedaredge is the team to beat, obviously, after it survived a bruising battle to win its division. It’s lost only one match since the first week of the season and won 13 of its 15 victories in three-set sweeps.
Soroco’s a team built with motivated seniors. They’ll need to play as well as they ever have to take on and take out Cedaredge and Meeker, but given the skill the Rams bring to the table, that may be possible.
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Wednesday, Sept. 22