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Sailors improve to 7-0

Steamboat victorious in Moffat County's homecoming game

Christine Metz

— After Friday’s victory over Moffat County, Sailors coach Mark Drake said he could not remember the last time, if ever, Steamboat has gone 7-0.

And that’s 33 years of coaching history he had to shuffle through.

Drake said the last time could have been when his son, Mark Anthony, played for Steamboat. That was 10 years ago, and even then, Drake said, he isn’t sure the team was undefeated into the seventh game of the season.

“It’s a great feeling, but we’ve got tough, tough teams in the last three ball games,” Drake said.

One of those games includes Rifle, the only other team in the Western Slope Conference to go undefeated in league play. So far this season, the 6-1 Bears have worked their way through the league blowing by every opponent at least 25 points ahead.

But it was the Bulldogs, not the Bears, the Sailors were focused on Friday night as Steamboat’s Joey Marias sparked four touchdowns for a 29-8 win.

With Marias rushing for over 200 yards and a tenacious defense, the undefeated Sailors proved too much for the 2-5 Bulldogs as they rolled to their seventh straight victory.

“It was a tough game for us,” Bulldogs coach John Haddan said. “We had no answer for No. 34 (Marias). That kid is tough to stop.”

The Sailors got on the board on their first drive of the game with a halfback pass from Marias to Cory Beck in the end zone. At the 6:22- mark in the first half, quarterback Tanner Barr handed off to Marias who threw the 11-yard pass to Beck.

That was the same trick play that the Sailors scored on first in last week’s game against Battle Mountain. A week ago, it was a 31-yard pass from Marias to Adams Grimes.

“We tried it at the last game,” Drake said. “We thought that we could set it up again with Marias doing so well on the sweep.”

With three interceptions, one fumble recovery and two Bulldogs’ drives stopped short of the goal line, it was a strong Sailors’ defense that kept the Bulldogs to one goal.

“It was a great defensive stand. Defense did outstanding. They got a heck of a quarterback in there. (We) had to buckle down,” Sailors coach Mark Drake said.

The Sailors sealed the victory in the last three minutes of the game when Marias took the ball in for an 8-yard touchdown to put the Sailors up 29-8.

The Sailors defense made sure that the Bulldogs would stay at 8 points when Joel Adams intercepted a Bulldogs’ pass at the 18-yard line.

After a Marias fumble at the 19-yard line and a recovery by the Bulldogs’ Mike Charchalis, the Sailors got the ball back again when Beck intercepted the ball with three seconds left on the clock.

“That’s been the story of our season.” Haddan said. “Offensively, we shoot ourselves in the foot.”

The ball game was a lot closer coming into halftime. After the Sailors found the board first, the Bulldogs responded in the second half with a one-yard touch down and a two-point conversion by quarterback Charchalis.

That put the Bulldogs’ up 8-7.

The Sailors used the next four-and-half-minutes to drive the ball down the field before Marias found his way into the endzone on an 11-yard run. Barr held on for the ball for a two-point conversion.

“The kids established themselves early. I’m really proud of them,” Drake said.

The Sailors made sure they went into halftime ahead as they stopped the Bulldogs from scoring deep into Sailors territory. With under a minute left in the first half, defensive back Zach Forcum tipped a ball intended for John Counts in the end zone.

On the next play, it was defensive end Ray Banning who made the tip to stop the Bulldogs’ offensive drive in their fourth down.

“It was like our second homecoming,” Forcum said. “We tried to take it as a homecoming game and really step it up.”

In the third quarter, it was a 41-yard pass from Barr to Joe Liefer that set the Sailors up for Marias’ second touchdown of the night, a two-yard run. Marias now stands at 942 yards for the season.

To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229 or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com


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