Steamboat football’s aggressive tactics pay off in season opener
The Steamboat Springs football made team its triumphant return to Gardner Field on Friday, Aug 26, with one goal in mind: set the tone for the 2022 season.
A 30-minute weather delay at the start of the game did nothing to the Sailor’s spirits as they steamrolled their way to a 17-6 victory against Coal Ridge.
Steamboat’s defense was the focal point of the game, forcing several turnovers and punts while holding Coal Ridge to just one score. They go onto the field with a “bend don’t break” attitude, and it worked.
“That’s just the mentality our defense has this year,” head coach Jay Hamric said. “It’s gonna be very aggressive, very physical and they’re not afraid of any moment. They’re ready to step up.”
The Sailors received the opening kick off and had a plan to get on the board early.
Junior running back Brady Grove took the handoff on the opening play for a 25-yard gain. The Sailors then marched down the field thanks to a chain of completed catches by senior receiver Austin Moore followed
Hamric elected to go for it on fourth down, deep in enemy territory and Grove was able to push defenders just far enough to reach the chains and earn a first down in the red zone.
“I just have a lot of confidence, a lot of faith and trust,” Hamric said. “I wanted to set the tone that we’re gonna be aggressive, we’re gonna challenge our kids and bottom line is just that gut call to have a lot of faith in our boys that they’re gonna pull through and they did.”
On third and goal, quarterback Jesse Hamric connected with Abbott Gautreaux for the first Steamboat touchdown of the season on an 8-yard pass. Gautreaux is one of three freshmen on the varsity roster and says catching that touchdown was a dream come true.
“I’ve never had this opportunity before, I’m so happy,” Gautreaux said. “Let’s keep it going, we’ve got eight more games to go, let’s go.”
The following three Steamboat drives all resulted in turnovers, but the Sailor defense was able to prevent the Coal Ridge offense from capitalizing off of Steamboat’s early mistakes.
The Sailors even recovered a fumble of their own and not long after, Jesse Hamric found senior receiver Cade Gedeon for a 47-yard touchdown pass, giving the Sailors a 14-0 advantage with less than five minutes to go in the first half.
Gedeon pulled in the ball at the 25-yard line, spun out of coverage and sprinted to the goal line as the student section more than 100 strong shook the bleachers.
Steamboat would score one more time in the first half courtesy of a 40-yard field goal off the foot of senior Erik Sandvik.
The visiting Titans fought back early in the second half and scored their first points of the game on a 19-yard rushing touchdown with a failed 2-point conversion, making it 17-6.
They threatened again late in the game after an interception inside their own 10-yard line. The very next play resulted in a 70-yard rush for the Titans putting them in a great position to score and retain hope as the final minutes ticked off the clock.
Sailors sophomore John Bene put a stop to Coal Ridge’s advances with an interception in the red zone to put the game away.
Steamboat was able to keep the spark alive from last year and show the home crowd what the team is made of.
The boys head to Craig on Thursday, Sept. 1, for a 7 p.m. start against Moffat County.
“We’re gonna play another tough run-type offense with Craig and we’re gonna obviously have to work on our turnovers,” Jay Hamric said. “We can’t have a turnover margin of three. So, we’re gonna have to secure the ball and when we do, we’re able to drive the ball. I think we’re in great shape moving into week two.”
Steamboat Springs 17, Coal Ridge 6
SS 7 10 0 0 – 17
CR 0 0 6
SS – Jacob Griffith 10 pass from Jesse Hamric, Charlie Reisman kick, 8:43
SS – Cade Gedeon 52 pass from Hamric, Reisman kick, 4:56
SS – Erik Sandvik 41 field goal, 37.9
CR – touchdown 19 rush, PAT no good, 4:56
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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