SSHS football holds on for win at Aspen |

SSHS football holds on for win at Aspen

Austin Colbert
Steamboat Springs senior Joe DeLine carries the ball for the Sailors against Aspen on Friday. SSHS won 7-6 behind an inspired effort from its senior captain.

— Steamboat Springs High School’s Joe DeLine made a crucial mistake at the start of the Sailors’ football game in Aspen on Friday, but being a senior and team captain, he would find a way to make up for it.

“He worked hard,” SSHS coach Lonn Clementson said. “I know he was pretty upset with that first kickoff return, but if you look at the big picture, he’s been a workhorse. He’s got a great attitude.”

DeLine fumbled the opening kickoff of Friday’s game, which, in turn, led to an early Aspen score. But without him, the Sailors wouldn’t have been able to rally for the 7-6 win, their first of the season.

DeLine’s early fumble left Aspen (2-1) with a short field, and a 5-yard touchdown run by Rennie Tucker-Meuse put the Skiers on the board. A failed 2-point conversion kept the score at 6-0.

From there, the game was a battle of field position, with neither defense willing to give up much ground. It was a failed fake punt attempt by Aspen that set up the Sailor offense with the ball only 33 yards from the end zone, and five plays later, DeLine punched it in from a yard out to tie the game with less than a minute to play in the first half.

DeLine’s extra point try was good, and Steamboat led 7-6 at halftime.

“We got some stops at the right time; we got some first downs at the right time,” Clementson said. “I thought they did a nice job overcoming some adversity early and taking a little momentum into the locker room at halftime and again being able to hang on with that win.”

Neither team found any rhythm in the second half, with the Sailor defense coming up big on a couple of fourth-down attempts. Steamboat was able to run out the clock behind a pair of big runs from DeLine.

SSHS, now 1-1, will host Battle Mountain (1-1) on Friday at Gardner Field, its home opener. Battle Mountain lost, 21-7, to Eagle Valley on Friday after beating Middle Park, 50-14, in its season opener.

“We know we have a lot of work yet to do, but it’s a whole lot easier being 1-1 than 0-2,” Clementson said. “We’re very happy to come away with a win.”

Dale Strode, of The Aspen Times, contributed to this article.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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