Steamboat football clinches playoff berth |

Steamboat football clinches playoff berth

Melinda Mawdsley

Any thoughts that a week off might leave the Steamboat Springs football team rusty were dispelled in the first half of Friday’s game at Delta.

The Sailors scored on their first four possessions before routing the Panthers, 47-7. The starters did not give up a point while scoring seven touchdowns.

“Everything was working well,” Steamboat coach Aaron Finch said. “We got the ball in a lot of different players’ hands.”

Five Sailors scored in the team’s second rout of the season. Steamboat defeated Battle Mountain, 45-0, on Oct. 7.

The win guaranteed that the Sailors are in the Class 3A playoffs. Who, when and where they play is still unknown, however, with one week remaining in the regular season.

Steamboat (7-2 overall, 5-2 in league) hosts Glenwood Springs at 7 p.m. Nov. 4 at Gardner Field to close out the Western Slope League schedule. The Sailors will be the third or fourth seed out of the league.

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The Sailors began their scoring barrage Friday with 6 minutes, 19 seconds left in the first quarter on senior Scott Stanko’s touchdown reception from junior quarterback Tanner Stillwell. The drive was set up by one of four Delta turnovers.

It was the first game this season where the Sailors were able to both run and throw effectively.

“The play action game worked really well,” Finch said. “We got guys open. They ran great routes. Tanner saw them, and they caught it. We have been waiting for that to happen.”

Steamboat added two more rushing touchdowns in the first half.

Steamboat opened the second half with the ball and drove down the field, making it 34-0. Stilwell capped off the drive with a 1-yard quarterback keeper.

The Sailors forced the Panthers to punt on the next possession and scored less than two minutes later on Hanley’s 30-yard touchdown dash with 6:44 left in the third quarter.

A bad snap — something that plagued the Panthers all game — pushed the ball all the way back to their goal line after a punt attempt. With first-and-goal, Steamboat needed just one Westin Cofer carry for the score.

With the score at 47-0, the mercy rule was enacted to keep the clock running. The Sailors pulled their starters, and the reserves gave up one late touchdown.

But Steamboat’s reserves also got two turnovers on two Aaron Hornstein interceptions and got some great runs from freshman Eric Bonner, who got a jersey handed to him Friday, Finch said.