No points for style |

No points for style

Steamboat cuts it close but manages to pull out win

Melinda Mawdsley

— Scott Stanko typifies this year’s Steamboat Springs High School football team.

At 5-foot-9, 155 pounds, the senior is undersized, particularly for a defensive back. But it didn’t matter during Friday’s quadruple-overtime win against Montezuma-Cortez, when Stan–ko scored two touchdowns on counter plays and intercepted a likely touchdown in the third overtime, forcing the game further into the night. He has three interceptions this season.

“The offensive line did it all,” Stanko said about his two rushing scores. “There wasn’t much I had to do.”

Through five games, the Sailors already have avenged losses suffered last year at the hands of Arvada, Rifle, Moffat County and Cortez.

But Steamboat is yet to put together an impressive four-quarter game, and turnovers — six fumbles — nearly cost the Sailors on Friday.

“We tend to play even with our opponents instead of (playing) our game,” Stanko said.

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But this has become Steam–boat’s game.

The Sailors have a unique ability to win games they just as easily should lose. Finding the mental fortitude to ignore the scoreboard and play harder when they absolutely must isn’t as easy as blowing opponents out. Coaches and players obviously wouldn’t mind lopsided wins — and to limit their turnovers — but with temperatures dropping and playing conditions bound to worsen, the Sailors have proven they can win overtime games, high-scoring games, low-scoring games and games at home and on the road.

Sailors coach Aaron Finch has said this team is unlike any he’s been around. They are short in numbers, limited in size and minus-4 in turnover margin. But they are 5-1 overall and 3-1 in Western Slope League play.

Only Palisade is better, and the Rocky Mountain News has the Bulldogs ranked No. 1 in Class 3A. Although the league’s top teams were better last year, the league has more parity this year than at any time in the past four seasons.

Steamboat has faced four playoff hopefuls and beaten three of them. The Sailors have two more games against playoff-caliber teams — home contests versus Glenwood Springs and Eagle Valley.

This week, Steamboat faces a Battle Mountain team struggling to notch a league victory and out of the playoff picture. The Huskies will have home-field advantage for the 7 p.m. Friday game, but the Sailors have a chance to show themselves and their coaches that they are more than comeback kids.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail