Sailors, Devils play for second |

Sailors, Devils play for second

Melinda Mawdsley

It’s now OK to talk about Eagle Valley.

The Steamboat Springs High School football team convincingly defeated Battle Mountain on Oct. 7, setting up a Friday game between the two best teams in the Western Slope League not named Palisade.

The winner of Friday’s game will have second place to themselves, with Eagle Valley and Palisade still having to play each other. Friday’s game is Steamboat’s homecoming, as well.

“This coming week, we need to focus on getting ready for the game,” Sailors lineman Alex Centner said. “We’ve got the home-field advantage.”

It took Steamboat less than six minutes to score four touchdowns against Battle Mountain. The Sailors needed only seven offensive plays to score 28 points in the first quarter. The Huskies didn’t cross midfield until late in the second quarter.

Sailors coach Aaron Finch said the Battle Mountain game was “a statement game,” meaning Steamboat needed to put up big numbers on offense and limit Battle Mountain to few, if any, points.

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The Sailors did both.

“We wanted to play a full game of offense, defense and special teams,” Centner said.

Steamboat (6-1 overall, 5-1 in league) has a bye week after its game against Eagle Valley (5-1, 3-1) on Friday. The team needs the much-deserved break. The Sailors have been fortunate when it comes to avoiding injuries, but two key players — running back Jay Hanley and senior lineman Zack Savage — could use an extra week to heal. Hanley carried the ball three times in the final minutes of the fourth quarter against Battle Mountain. Savage did not play.

Neither was needed against the Huskies. But Finch was careful with the Steamboat team heading into the Battle Mountain game, a game in which the Sailors had everything to lose by not winning or by not playing well.

“We talked a lot about it,” he said. “You don’t look past anybody.”

Now, the Sailors can look toward the one team they have been waiting two weeks to play, and the defense will have to be ready for the Devils’ option attack.

Kickoff between Steamboat and Eagle Valley is 7 p.m. Friday at Gardner Field.

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