Steamboat can’t keep momentum from first half, falls to Summit
FRISCO — Steamboat Springs High School won the first half, but Summit won the second in a road battle that shaped up to be tougher than anticipated.
There wasn’t a lot on the line, except hometown pride, in the Steamboat Springs (2-5, 0-2) and Summit (2-5, 1-1) matchup. Both teams have very slim chances of making playoffs with almost identical records, but a win could invigorate a strong run at the end of regular season. In the end, missed opportunities and three fumbles hurt the Sailors as they fell 35-21 on the road.
Steamboat Springs sophomore Finn Russell hit the scoreboard twice in the first half.
His first came on a 60-yard breakaway, touchdown run on the third play of the game.
Just when the Tigers had seen Russell sprinting down the field, they saw him sprinting towards them for key tackles as the defense forced three turnover on downs in the first quarter, all of which fell short of the Sailors’ 40.
Russell eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark before the end of the first quarter, plowing through the middle and bursting up field for a 55-yard touchdown.
Despite a strong first half, the Sailors still missed out on two scoring opportunities, which would’ve made for a tie game late in the fourth.
Senior quarterback Drew Bowers fumbled at the Tigers’ 27-yard line in the first quarter. In the second quarter, junior Maxim Fullerton was the hot-hand, catching a 30-yard pass to put the Sailors on the Tigers’ 10, but after the Tigers held strong on the Sailors’ running game, Bowers threw a pass that slipped through Fullerton’s fingers in the end zone on 4th down.
The Tigers finally had their say at the end of the first half. Sophomore Jackson Veeneman punched in the touchdown run to make it 14-7 going into the half.
But the second half saw a different Steamboat Springs, or one that amplified the mistakes that hid behind the 14-7 lead.
The Tigers carried that final touchdown momentum into the second half, scoring two touchdowns to the Sailors’ one to tie it up.
The Sailors’ touchdown came on a 21-yard pass to junior Tanner Raper, but another opportunity was missed later in the third quarter, when the Sailors fumbled at their own 47-yard line. The Tigers added another score after that fumble, taking their first lead 28-27.
Maybe it was the cold, or maybe it was that first-half edge that gave the Sailors too much confidence. Bowers fumbled a third time to begin the fourth quarter, putting the Tigers deep in Sailors’ territory.
Veeneman tore up the Sailors’ defense, charging up the middle to put the Tigers in the red zone. Sophomore Noah Martens added a touchdown to secure a 35-21 lead for the Tigers.
Just when it felt like the Sailors couldn’t take more of a beating, the Tigers sacked Bowers on the Sailors’ own 37. Bowers stayed on the ground, holding his left leg, and limped off the field.
Bowers had traded reps with junior Diego Effinger at the beginning of the season, but had claimed the starting quarterback position by the third game. Now, the Sailors were down to their third string quarterback and star wide receiver, Raper, meaning they would lose two key components to their offense.
Raper did what he could, grabbing a first down on a run to the outside, but Summit forced a turnover on downs in the next series and the game was decided.
The Sailors return to Steamboat Springs for their final home game against Eagle Valley (2-6, 0-3) on Friday, Oct. 26.
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