Sailors set for team camp |

Sailors set for team camp

Big turnout for high school off-season

Luke Graham

— Judging by the attendance at the last day of the Steamboat Springs High School football team’s camp Thursday, the program is starting to see the results of three straight playoff appearances.

More than 50 players attended the noncontact session, which included a walk-through of offensive and defensive plays and a flag football game.

“This is a lot better than usual,” rising senior Alex Wood said. “I remember going as a freshman and maybe having 30 kids out there. This is definitely looking good.”

It’s the largest camp coach Aaron Finch has had in his five years at the helm. Finch, who has led the Sailors into the Class 3A playoffs in three of the past four years, said he wouldn’t be surprised if that number balloons to 80 in the fall.

“That would be about 25 more than we had last year,” Finch said. “We’re growing in numbers, which is good.”

Steamboat will head to the Mesa State College football camp Sunday and then attend a passing camp at the University of Colorado in Boulder on June 21.

Recommended Stories For You

The Mesa camp features four days of full-contact play, as well as 7-on-7 drills.

Finch designs the team camp and contact camp in successive weeks – the Colorado High School Activities Association allows schools one of each during the summer – to increase the sessions’ effectiveness.

“We really get a concentrated two weeks of practice,” Finch said.

The camps are designed to get the upcoming freshmen acclimated with the program, coaches and existing players. It also allows coaches to see the varsity players work together for the first time.

“Mesa is just an all-around camp,” said rising junior Carl Steele, who is one of the lone returning linemen for Steamboat. “It gets us knowing our plays and our formations.”

Along with being a contact camp, Mesa brings together several teams from the Western Slope League. In addition to Steamboat, teams from Palisade, Eagle Valley, Montezuma-Cortez and Rifle are expected to attend.

“You get a good sense of where you are in line with some of your opponents,” said Finch, noting Steamboat might see league favorite Glenwood Springs at the Colorado camp. “Of course, you show them what you are working with, but that doesn’t bother me.”

Steamboat opens the 2008 season Aug. 28 at Laramie, Wyo.

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail