Sailors football looks to continually improve |

Sailors football looks to continually improve

Luke Graham

— At this point in the season for the Steamboat Springs High School football team, it’s a matter of putting all the pieces together.

There’s no doubt the team is dangerous.

Evidence lies in the players and coaches feeling relatively disappointed in their play after a 31-point win Friday night in Delta.

But with a real shot to make the playoffs as a top 3 seed out of the Western Slope League, coach Aaron Finch said he’s looking for the team to fire on all cylinders, all the time.

“Thinking about it, we have some young athletes that can make some things happen,” Finch said. “But I think to compete with the top teams in state, all 11 players have to compete, which we’ve done at points this season, but need to do every game.”

While it may have been tough for the Sailors to keep their intensity against a team like Delta – one that’s struggled in the league the past couple of years – Finch said Steamboat has to carry the intensity through four quarters if this team wants to reach its goals.

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“I’ve never been in a 31-point win and been dissatisfied,” Finch said. “We had some guys making some great plays and doing a lot of good things. Looking ahead a little, though, we need to improve.”

One area Steamboat has excelled in is running the ball and stopping the run – maybe the two most vital things in football.

Through the past three games, Steamboat has averaged 261 yards on the ground. That’s a product of things happening on the offensive line, at quarterback and at the running back position.

With the “Pistol Formation,” Finch said the Sailors offense has so many options, it makes the team tough to defend.

A prime example happened Friday night.

At the Delta 17-yard line, Austin Hinder faked the handoff to Jay Hanley and rolled around to the left side untouched for a touchdown.

The only problem was, everyone thought Hanley had the ball – including the referees who blew the play dead when Hanley was wrapped up.

“The running game is vicious right now,” Finch said. “I feel if you stick it in Jay’s gut, teams have to respect that. With Austin, a lot of them are called keeps. But it’s tough getting a feel for trying to defend it when you have Jay going one way and Austin the other.”

Defensively, Steamboat is swarming to the ball. The Sailors have held the past three opponents to 2.6 yards a carry on the ground.

When you combine those two elements and realize the Sailors can only get better, it’s no wonder Finch is excited about the possibilities of this team.

“We’re going to keep trying to excel,” Finch said. “We’re going to keep challenging them to go out make big plays.”