Steamboat football team preps for Montrose |

Steamboat football team preps for Montrose

Sailors look to get 1st win of season at home versus ranked 4A team

Steamboat Springs High School junior Tommy Lyon practices kicking Thursday at Gardner Field. Steamboat plays against Montrose at 7 p.m. today at home.
Matt Stensland

The Steamboat Springs High School football team — last season’s state championship runner-up — is 0-2, having been outscored 73-6 in its first two games.

The slow start, however, isn’t causing panic in the Sailors locker room.

“There hasn’t been any panic all year,” Steamboat coach Lonn Clementson said. “We’re just looking to improve. It was really evident from Game 1 to Game 2. We’re not close to where we want to be, but the amount of improvement that occurred was motivating.”

For a team looking for something to go right, however, the task at hand appears to be the toughest of the early season. Steamboat plays against Montrose at 7 p.m. today at home, a team ranked No. 3 in Class 4A.

For his part, Indians coach Todd Casebier downplays what on paper might suggest a Montrose victory.

The Indians are 3-0, but have won two of those games by less than seven points, including a 6-0 win against Class 3A Glenwood Springs last week.

“Hype is based on what you did last year,” said Casebier, who is in his sixth season in Montrose but spent the seven seasons before that at Palisade. “It doesn’t mean a whole lot to us. They have us ranked too high. We easily could be 1-2. That stuff with the rankings is irrelevant, and it’s not accurate.”

Montrose could be without starting quarterback Nat­h­an Robertson, who suffered a sprained ankle against Glenwood and will be a game-time decision today. Backup quarterback Drew Casebier threw a 25-yard touchdown pass with 29.1 seconds left to beat Glenwood.

From his days at Palisade, Casebier knows what his team faces. He said during his time at the Class 3A powerhouse, the trip to Steamboat was almost always the toughest of the season.

The Indians runs a pro-style offense and a 3-4 defensive front. Against Glenwood Springs, Mo­­ntrose gave up just 233 yards and caused two fumbles.

That defense, paired with a Steamboat offense that has struggled this year, could make for a long night for the young Sailors.

But Clementson said his team used its bye week to work closely with players on fundamentals, and he thinks the offense is coming along.

Things appeared to get better in Steamboat’s second game against Holy Family two weeks ago. The team was down, 12-0, at halftime, but an interception on Steamboat’s opening second-half possession and the ensuing Holy Family touchdown put the game out of reach.

“We don’t have the same star players we had last year, but it’s a team game,” Steamboat senior Tanner Anderson said. “We can do things really well if we do them as a team. We’re still feeling great. It’s still preseason. Our first three games are going to be some of our tougher three.”

There’s little doubt that Steamboat’s preleague schedule is one of the tougher ones in Class 3A. The philosophy has been to make the mistakes in the first three games in preparation for the Western Slope League schedule.

But that doesn’t mean Ste­amboat is conceding today’s game.

“The one statistic everyone looks at is the win-loss column,” Clementson said. “We’re working toward a win. We know that we got our hands full, but we’re looking forward to the game because we want to get that first win.”

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