Starting field position propels Sailors football |

Starting field position propels Sailors football

Defense, special teams aid offense

Luke Graham

— There may not be a more important statistic that constantly gets ignored in football than starting field position.

Good starting field position is about more than yardage on the field. It usually means a team is solid in all three facets of the game. It’s no wonder, then, how the Steamboat Springs High School football team built such a big lead against Battle Mountain on Friday night.

In eight first-half drives, the Sailors started in Huskies territory six times. Their average field position was Battle Mountain’s 45-yard line.

“It’s huge,” Steamboat coach Aaron Finch said after Friday’s game. “That’s why special teams are so important. That’s really what it comes down to. It’s a testament to getting first downs on offense, 3-and-outs on defense and a solid kicking game.”

It certainly started with the kicking game and Jasper Gantick. The senior had his most consistent day kicking off, constantly landing the ball inside the Battle Mountain 5-yard line.

“All of us coaches make the analogy of his kicking to our golf games, which isn’t necessarily a compliment to Jasper,” Finch said. “You know when you go out and play golf, you have days when it comes and goes. When you work at it, you have more good days. That was key. His kickoffs were excellent.”

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The defense followed suit, causing five 3-and-outs and an interception. The Sailors snagged a special teams touchdown when Alex Wood recovered a bad snap and scored.

Although it was a good performance for Steamboat all around, Finch said when teams are given field position like Steamboat was, the game becomes much easier.

“When the defense gets a 3-and-out stop, and you get a good return, you’re in the middle of the field, and I can call anything I want,” Finch said. “It really allowed us to attack in any way we wanted.”

But now Steamboat has to turn its attention to chief rival Moffat County. Although Steamboat still is in the driver’s seat as far as a playoff spot goes, Friday’s match-up looms large.

“I think we have to view this one as, ‘we must win,'” Finch said. “The motivation is our rivalry game. These kids have been playing against each other since they were in seventh grade and younger than that in some sports. It’s to see who gets bragging rights in the Yampa Valley for the next year.”

SSHS football season statistics

First Downs: Steamboat 85, Opponent 86

Rushes-Yards: Steamboat 215-1,347, Opponent 280-1,168

Comp-Att-Int: Steamboat 58-105-6, Opponent 41-128-6

Yards Passing: Steamboat 934, Opponent 521

Total Yards: Steamboat 2,281, Opponent 1,689

Punts-Avg.: Steamboat 14-33, Opponent 24-33

Fumbles-lost: Steamboat 19-4, Opponent 17-2

Penalties-Yards: Steamboat 55-439, Opponent 43-329


Steamboat 97-84-37-35-253

Opponent 29-34-28-27-116



S: Hinder 55-409, 7 TD; Fraser Egan 61-394, 7 TD; Joe Dover 58-485, 7 TD; Charles Wood 5-26, 1 TD; Dustin Siegel 14-47; Cody Harris 1-8; Jasper Gantick 1-(-19); Eric Bonner 3-15, 1 TD; Michael Savory 2-(-10); Dylan Pivarnik 1-(-4); Alex Wood 3-12; Grant McCannon 2-(-17); Garrett Pugh 8-20.


S: Hinder 54-99-6, 914 yards, 7 TD; Alex Wood 1-1-0, 22 yards, 1 TD; McCannon 1-2-0, 5 yards; Bonner 1-1-0, 2 yards; Savory 1-2-0, minus-4 yards.


S: Alex Wood 22-430, 5 TD; Cody Harris 10-225, 1 TD; Dover 14-197, 1 TD; Egan 1-0; Jack Verploeg 1-5; Nelson Brassell 3-29; Gantick 1-11; Charles Wood 1-3; Jack Spady 1-3; Dylan Pivarnik 1-11, 1 TD; Bonner 1-11; Siegiel 1-(-4).