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Steamboat football team to meet Cortez in neutral territory

Christine Metz

— Sandwiched between last week’s rivalry-charged game against Moffat County and next week’s showdown with Rifle for the possible Western Slope League title, Steamboat’s game on Saturday against 1-6 Montezuma-Cortez should give the Sailors some breathing room.

But Sailors coach Mark Drake isn’t taking anything lightly about the upcoming matchup that will have both teams on neutral ground when Steamboat travels to Rifle for a 2 p.m. game.

“We hope to have the big showdown with Rifle to play for the potential No. 1 spot in the league, but to be able to do that we’ve got to take care of business, I don’t want to stub our toe this week and hurt our chances.”

Although the Panthers have only one win in the Western Slope, it was a 50-23 slaughtering over Glenwood Springs, a team that Steamboat beat 43-13.

Panthers Coach Karl McGee thinks his team has a chance if it plays consistent football, a problem that has plagued the team all year, especially in its league game against Delta, which it lost 23-14.

“We’re inconsistent, we turned over the ball seven times in Delta. You can’t win when you do things like that. We’re looking for consistency in play,” he said.

“Depending on which one of our teams plays, if we have a good consistent effort on Saturday, we’ll do well for most parts of the game. If we don’t get a consistent effort, we won’t,” he said.

For Drake, the Panthers’ biggest threat is their size, which he said would be the biggest ball club his team has faced all season. One of the team’s strongest players is Kevin Weyman at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds.

Anchoring the team at quarterback, Weyman leads the Panthers in rushing, nearing 1,000 yards for the season, McGee said.

Weyman had one of his biggest games against Glenwood Springs, running for 275 yards and throwing for 59.

McGee also named 6-foot, 200-pound Devin Sena as a big contributor in the fullback and line backer positions.

Also adding size to the offense, which lines up in the I-formation, is 6-foot, 180- pound wide receiver Gabe Evans.

McGee said his team has been suffering from the flu, which hurt the Panthers in the Delta game and in its 48-6 loss to Palisade.

For the Sailors, most of their nagging injuries will not keep them sidelined.

Drake said lineman Scott Middleton is still questionable with knee injuries, but full back Tim Higbee will be back at 100 percent.

After the Sailors gave a lackluster performance against the Battle Mountain Huskies following their upset win over Palisade, Drake wants to be sure the intensity is there for Saturday’s game.

“This team is better than Battle Mountain. They have the potential to put it all together. We’ll be in a dog fight if we don’t keep things focused,” Drake said.

Keeping the intensity could be hard on a rare Saturday afternoon game on a neutral field.

Drake said his team had a hard time finding that intensity last year against the Panthers in Palisade they didn’t have the home crowd atmosphere and they were not playing under the Friday night lights.

“The excitement was not there it definitely cast a shadow over the whole thing. It is definitely hard to get kids thinking about it in the right context,” Drake said.


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