Steamboat Sailors football sees strengths in season opening victory |

Steamboat Sailors football sees strengths in season opening victory

Tanner Raper practices tackling with coach Mike Appel at practice on Tuesday, Aug. 14.
Leah Vann

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs High School football team won only two games last season — one by forfeit over Glenwood Springs and the another a 41-0 victory against Roaring Fork — but this fall, the Sailors are starting out strong with a 24-12 win over Manual in the first game of the 2018 season on Aug. 24.

“It was huge for our kids  — just building that confidence and taking this into next week and the course of this season,” head coach Shawn Baumgartner said. “They’re excited, pumped up and really working together as a unit. That camaraderie as a team and morale is going to be huge.”

Steamboat’s strength came from the offensive line, which established a strong ground game. Senior Austin Ban ran for a 3-yard touchdown in the first and a 15-yard touchdown in the fourth. Senior Drew Bowers drove in a 1-yard touchdown in the second, and sophomore Finn Russel ran 9 yards for a touchdown in the third.

“Our offensive line is really starting to come together,” Baumgartner said. “They played well together as a unit. We were able to run well behind those guys. We got our option game going, we were able to maintain possession of the ball most of the game, and the clock was definitely in our favor.”

That game clock was mitigated by a strong defense, which forced five of eight of the Manual Thunderbolts’ offensive drives to three-and-outs and held them to two touchdowns.

The game showed many positives, but Baumgartner said the Sailors still need to work on basics to advance both sides of the ball.

But junior quarterback Diego Effinger showed a lot of promise, commanding the option offense with ease. Baumgartner contributes that to Effinger’s hard work over the summer, where he never missed a weight room or field practice.

That’s the kind of leadership that will enable the Sailors to grow this season.

“One of our biggest things we’re really emphasizing, it’s not so much seniors, juniors or freshmen, we’re the Steamboat Sailors football team,” Baumgartner said. “Everyone’s role is equally important, giving each other credit for that role. That attitude has brought us closer together as a team.”

Steamboat will travel to Cedaredge for its next game at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31.

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.

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