Raper returns, Cedaredge defense stuns Steamboat
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs High School senior Tanner Raper spent week one on the side lines due to a lingering back injury. It was torture.
When he got on the field to receive the opening kick, Raper wasted no time in game two when the Sailors hosted Cedaredge.
Collecting the kickoff behind the 30-yard line, he dashed to the right sideline, avoiding tackles and utilizing blocks until he broke away from the crowd around the 50. From there, he had a nearly-uncontested lane to the end zone.
Twenty seconds into the game, Steamboat led 7-0.
“It was amazing. It’s nice to be back with my brothers,” Raper said. “This is where I belong.”
Unfortunately for the boys in black and red, their lead didn’t last, as they fell to 1A Cedaredge 21-13 on Friday, September 6, at Gardner Field.
“I don’t know if I can put my thumb on it,” Cedaredge head coach Craig Cerise said following the win. “We don’t have a lot of guys, but the guys we have are pretty tight, and they believe in each other.”
Raper spent most of the game at quarterback, taking over for freshman Cade Gedeon who was under center the previous week. Midway through the second frame, Raper moved to wide receiver as Gedeon stepped back onto the field.
“Just to give them a different look, throw the ball a little bit more,” Steamboat Springs head coach Shawn Baumgartner said of the change. “It put Tanner into some open space, to try to use Tanner and Cole, two really good athletes on the outside. It’s something we need to continue to work on, but it’s something we’ll definitely be able to use going down the road.”
No matter who was throwing the ball, they somehow found a Bruin defender. Rapers first quarter INT was a fluke that bounced off the hands of the intended receiver and into Cedaredge junior quarterback and strong safety Jacob Brown’s hands. His second was simply a bad call. In the midst of positive offensive progress, Raper threw straight to Brown.
In the second, Steamboat closed in on the end zone. Aiming up the middle, Gedeon threw to his older brother, senior Cole Gedeon. Sneaking in front of the 6-3 receiver for the interception was, you guessed it: Brown.
It wasn’t just Brown doing work on defense. The secondary coverage from the Bruins all-but-eliminated the Steamboat pass game.
“We’ve had an emphasis on that,” Cerise said. “Our defensive coordinator, our special teams coach, we do a good job to put more emphasis on that. Obviously, it’s helped.”
None of the interceptions set up a scoring drive, but it added to the feeling that the Bruins were winning, despite a 7-6 deficit on the scoreboard. The visitors soon changed that.
- Aug. 30: vs. Manual W 33-26
- Sept. 6: vs. Cedaredge, L 21-13
- Sept 13: vs. Moffat County, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 20: at Middle Park, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 27: at Hotchkiss, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 11: vs. Palisade, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 18: at Battle Mountain, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 25: vs. Summit, 7 p.m.
- Nov. 1: at Eagle Valley, 7 p.m.
- Nov. 8: vs. Glenwood Springs, 7 p.m.
With 30 seconds left in the half, senior running back Dusty Emig scored for Cedaredge, using a stiff arm and fast legs to power over the line for the touchdown and 2-point conversion, putting his team up 14-7.
“Defensively, we struggled getting stops,” Baumgartner said. “We put ourselves in some bad situations. We just got to do a better job taking care of the ball.”
Late in the third, an impressive fourth down sack by sophomore defensive lineman Ben Bogan seemed to give the Sailors some momentum. Raper tested his team’s luck, sending a Hail Mary to Cole Gedeon that slipped through the receiver’s fingers.
After switching directions as the game faded into the fourth, Steamboat (1-1) couldn’t keep it going. A turnover on downs gave Cedaredge (1-0) the ball in dangerous territory. A 21-yard touchdown pass to Rupp pushed the advantage to 21-7 deficit 10 minutes remaining.
Six minutes later, a 42-yard throw from Cade Gedeon to Cole Gedeon set up a last-ditch effort. From there, Finn Russel busted through the line for a first down, putting the ball on the Bruins 30-yard line.
On 2nd and 10, Cade Gedeon sent the ball flying towards a spot where three receivers could potentially come down with it. Raper got both his hands on it, earning his second touchdown of the day.
“Those are just jump balls,” Raper said. “Whoever wants it most goes up and gets it.”
However, the PAT was no good, meaning not only did the Sailors have to score again, but they’d have to go for two just to tie it. All in three and a half minutes.
While Steamboat tried, they couldn’t complete the comeback.
Cedaredge 21, Steamboat Springs 13
C 0 14 0 7
SS 7 0 0 6
SS: Tanner Raper kick return, Finn Russel PAT good
C: Colby Rupp 38 pass from Jacob Brown, PAT no good, 11:53
C: Dusty Emig rush, Emig rush 0:30
C: Rupp 21 pass from Brown, PAT good, 10:26
SS: Raper 30 pass from Cade Gedeon, PAT no good, 3:20
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