Steamboat ready for a break before Delta game |

Steamboat ready for a break before Delta game

Melinda Mawdsley

— After eight-straight weeks of football, Steamboat Springs will get a break.

The Sailors (6-2 overall, 4-2 in Western Slope League) are off until a 7 p.m. game Oct. 28 at Delta.

Steamboat is in third-place in the league standings behind league-unbeaten Palisade and Eagle Valley, the team that beat the Sailors, 16-13, on Friday.

Several Sailors, including lineman Zack Savage and leading rusher Jay Hanley, have been playing injured, and the extra week off may be just what they need to recover. Quarterback Tanner Stillwell, who missed only one play Saturday, injured his throwing arm when an Eagle Valley lineman hit it as he was completing his throwing motion. It didn’t appear serious.

“This team has played very hard,” Sailors coach Aaron Finch said. “We’ll watch film, take care of any injuries. We want to stay in sync.”

Finch, who is in his second year of coaching the Sailors, said Steamboat didn’t respond well after last year’s bye week, so he is going to mix days of rest with hard, tough practices.

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When game week against Delta rolls around, however, the Sailors will return to their usual routine.

Steamboat gets the mid-season bye week because of its zero-week game against Aurora Central on Aug. 27. The Sailors were one of fewer than 10 teams that played a game in that first allowable week of the season because they couldn’t get one scheduled for later in the year. Steamboat hadn’t even started school before the first game.

“Taking a zero week is definitely paying off now,” Stillwell said.

The Sailors’ two remaining games — at Delta and versus Glenwood Springs — are winnable, meaning Steamboat controls whether it makes the playoffs this year after missing out on postseason play last season.

Steamboat’s players and coaches have been clear that is the goal.

The Eagle Valley loss may have cost the Sailors a home playoff game, but there are still three weeks left in the league season. Last year, Rifle went into the playoffs as the No. 4 seed out of the Western Slope.

The result?

An unexpected Class 3A state championship.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail