Sailors: New team, new game | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors: New team, new game

Seniors more confident after Pueblo game 2 years ago

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs quarterback Austin Hinder eyes a receiver Wednesday evening as the squad practices. The Sailors will play their first game of the Class 3A playoffs Saturday against Pueblo Central in Pueblo. It's the same opponent that knocked the team from the 3A quarterfinals two years ago.

— Alex Wood and Eric Bonner remember a lot about playing at Pueblo County in the second round of the Class 3A football playoffs two years ago, when they were sophomores.

For Steamboat Springs High School’s only two holdovers from that 41-7 defeat, the memories – as expected – aren’t too good.

They remember the raucous crowd and the intensity of playing on the road. They remember going against a bigger team that willed itself down the field with a trio of running backs and a huge offensive line.

“They were big and mean and strong,” said Wood, who played inside linebacker in the 2006 game. “I remember how tough they were. They were a tough team. Everyone on the field was tough. They’d keep you on the ground until the play was over, then they wouldn’t help you up. Then, they’d go back to the huddle and do it again.”

But now, as the two seniors face what could – or could not – be their last high school football game, they realize that two years ago won’t really matter come 1 p.m. Saturday in Pueblo.

“I’d say they are going to be tough and big and strong, just like they always are,” Wood said. “Watching film, it’s like a replica of that team with different players.”

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Still, Wood and Bonner said they enter this year’s contest with a different perspective and mindset.

Bonner admits that as a sophomore, he was scared and worried about making mistakes. Although he concedes that Pueblo County looks the part of a No. 4 seed, he said he feels much different than he did two years ago.

“Looking at film, they’re a very good team that will play us tough,” Bonner said. “But I’ve been playing safety for so long, it’s just about going in and being able to be confident.”

Certainly, Steamboat doesn’t come off its best performance of the year. The Sailors fell, 47-0, Friday to No. 1 Glenwood Springs. Even with that loss, the two seniors said Saturday begins a new season in a familiar territory.

“I don’t know if I feel more confident, but I’m more optimistic because of how we match up,” Wood said. “We’re different teams now. I definitely feel better, because now I know the whole experience.”

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