Prep sports preview: Steamboat hosts tough homecoming competition
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs High School volleyball and football will face off against tough opponents on homecoming night Friday, Oct. 12. The football team will look for an upset of Battle Mountain and the volleyball team hopes to stay in contention for the league title and a playoff berth. On the road, the Steamboat Springs boys tennis will compete at the state tournament on Thursday, Oct. 11 through Saturday, Oct. 13. As the end of the season approaches for volleyball and football, the level of competition heats up. Soroco High School football is coming off its first loss and hopes to contend with a tougher schedule ahead, while the volleyball team is hoping to finish with a winning record and potential playoff berth.
- Steamboat Springs football (2-4, 0-1)
vs. Battle Mountain (5-1, 1-0), 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12
Homecoming gives a rivalry matchup that much more weight for the Sailors football team. Following a 40-29 loss to No. 1 in class 3A Western Slope League and RPI standings, Palisade, on the road last Thursday, head coach Shawn Baumgartner said he was proud of the team’s second half performance where Sailors opened with an 8-minute drive for a touchdown and matched the Bulldogs in scoring. Battle Mountain enters the game with one loss to Basalt, 47-6 on Sept. 7. The Huskies, currently sitting at No. 2 in Western Slope and No. 11 in RPI standings, feature a diversified rushing game, led by junior Kia Gongaware who has 384 yards this season, but is joined by senior Traver Goldberg and junior Garrett Anderson with over 200 yards rushing each. The Sailors have two rushing weapons in senior Austin Ban and sophomore Finn Russell and one key receiving weapon in junior Tanner Raper. Ban has 419 yards rushing while Russell has 334. Raper has 255 yards receiving.
- Soroco football (5-1, 2-1)
vs. Rangely (5-1, 2-1), 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12
The Rams are looking to bounce back from a rainy 74-66 loss to Vail Christian last week on the road. Senior Jace Logan has 1,788 yards so far this season and averages 298 per game. He averages 16.7 yards per carry through 107 snaps this season. Junior Jesse Koler has also played a big role on offense, splitting snaps with Logan, Jesse Amrein and Kody Logan in the rushing game while also leading the team with 120 receiving yards. But offense isn’t the problem for the Rams, who tend to struggle with defense against tougher teams. In the past two games against No. 23 in RPI standings Plateau Valley and No. 9 Vail Christian, the No. 18 Rams have given up 112 points, more points than the previous four games combined (82). Rangely comes in as No. 2 in RPI standings and have the second-most passing yards in the state for 8-man football while the No. 16 best running game in the state. The Rams still have the best running game in the state, but if they want to contend, it’s going to take more than out-scoring the other team.
- Hayden football (2-4, 1-3)
at West Grand (6-0, 3-0), 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12
The Tigers have a loaded end-of-season schedule. After a 58-12 loss to Rangely at home, Hayden travels to West Grand, the No. 1 8-man team in the state, before taking on rival, No. 18 Soroco, on its home turf the following week. The Tigers started off strong against Rangely last week before giving up 30 points in the second quarter and failing to score in the second half. Hayden boasts two consistent offensive weapons in senior Daylen Frentress and junior Patrick Hunter with different running styles. Frentress is small, but mighty, capable of finding holes in the defense for a breakaway run. Hunter is a power-runner, using his size to break tackles and extend long runs. If the Tigers can keep their intensity throughout the entire game, they are capable of surprising higher-ranked teams.
- Steamboat Springs volleyball (10-7, 6-2)
vs. Palisade (11-4, 6-2), 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12
vs. Rifle (1-16, 0-9), 1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 13
Homecoming means the Sailors will play earlier than usual, which means fans will have time to see the varsity volleyball and football teams. The Palisade Bulldogs are an important matchup for the Sailors, as both hold the best league record in the class 4A Western Slope League. The Sailors last met the Bulldogs on Sept. 27, defeating them in four sets on the road. The match holds weight with the Western Slope title still up for grabs. Steamboat Springs stands at No. 29 in the RPI standings, putting them in post-season position by two spots, while the Bulldogs sit comfortably at No. 12. Defense has been key for the Sailors, who not only have a strong hitting game, but feature a defensive game that’s only gotten better. Senior Katelyn Kline leads the team with 188 digs this season, but is joined by senior Kari Saunders and junior Lauren Ehrlich on the back row. Saunders has 74 digs while Ehrlich has 61. Senior setter Abi Berlet and senior outside hitter Anna Allsberry have also shown improvement on the defensive front with 72 and 73 digs respectively. Senior Avery Harrington leads the blocking game with 60 total blocks. Defense will be important against the Bulldogs, who boast the most accurate hitter in the Western Slope, senior Alexandra MacAskill.
- Soroco volleyball (8-9, 4-5)
vs. Rangely (9-6, 5-3), 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12
The Rams sit at No. 36 in the RPI standings, meaning, it still has a chance to sneak its way within the top 32 for a playoff berth. A win over Rangely, who stands at No. 30 in RPI standings and No. 5 in the class 1A/2A Western Slope, could only add an edge to the Rams’ odds. The Rams are coming off a five-set defeat of No. 56 Hotchkiss, who is No. 12 out of 13 in the Western Slope, and five-set loss to No. 20 Paonia, who is No. 4 in the Western Slope. Soroco sits at No. 7 in the Western Slope. The Rams should have some confidence going into the match against the Cougars, though. The Cougars lost in five to Hayden on Friday, a team that Soroco has beaten twice this year.
- Hayden volleyball (6-9, 2-7)
vs. Paonia (9-6, 6-2), 4 p.m., Friday, Oct. 19
The Tigers have a week off before their next game against Paonia next Friday. The Tigers come off a five-set upset of Rangely and will look to finish their season out on a good note.
- Steamboat Springs boys tennis
at State Tournament in Pueblo, Oct. 11 to 13
Andy Schuiling, Ethan Paulus, Gabe Rabanal and John Hannaway will travel to Pueblo to represent Steamboat Springs boys tennis at the state tournament. Schuiling will face off against Pueblo Central’s Dario Alcala in the No. 1 singles bracket while Paulus takes on Oliver Muhl of Cheyenne Mountain in No. 3 singles. The doubles team of Rabanal and Hannaway will face off against Caleb Aguirre and Emmett Ela of Colorado Academy. Advancing players will play again on Saturday.
- Steamboat Springs cross country
at Rifle, Thursday, Oct. 11
The Sailors cross country team will sneak in one more meet before regionals on Friday, Oct. 19 at Battle Mountain.
- Soroco cross country
at Rifle, Thursday, Oct. 11
The Rams varsity cross country team will also compete in Rifle before their regional competition on Friday, Oct. 19 in Delta.
- Steamboat Springs boys soccer (9-3-1, 7-2-1)
vs. Summit (4-7-1, 3-5-1), 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16
The Steamboat Springs boys soccer team collected a 10-1 win over Eagle Valley on Tuesday night and will enjoy a week off before facing Summit on their home turf next Tuesday. The Sailors tied the Tigers on Sept. 20.
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