Tackling the opposition
Sailors force four turnovers in 31-13 rout of Kent Denver
Kent Denver Steamboat
12 First Downs 13
32-111 Rushes-Yards 37-198
6-18-3 Comp-Att-Int 6-13-1
69 Yards Passing 79
180 Total Yards 277
6-35 Punts-Avg. 4-49
4-1 Fumbles-lost 0-0
3-30 Penalties-Yards 10-100
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Kent Denver 0-7-0-6-13
S 8:44, Ben Deline, 43-yard field goal
S 3:16, Deline, 38-yard field goal
S- 0:22, Jay Hanley, 69-yard run (Tanner Stillwell two-point conversion pass)
K 10:36, Samuel Swomley, 39-yard interception return (Lucien Raichert kick)
S 0:13, Deline, 40-yard field goal
S 5:09, Hanley, 2-yard run (Deline kick).
A 2:21, Hanley, 1-yard run (Deline kick)
K 10:12, Patrick Murray, 80-yard run (Kick failed)
S: Hanley 17-136, 3 TD; Sean Forney 6-32; Jace Bonner 5-30; Josh Mangold 4-8; Aaron Hornstein 2-3; Stillwell 2-(-3); Alex Wood 1-(-8).
K: Murray 9-128, 1 TD; Will Deevy 8-(-7); Saul Levy 6-(-6); Kendall Early 3-(-1); Michael Reilly 3-(-2); Shay Knolle 2-5; Michael Morahan 1-(-6).
S: Stillwell 6-13-1, 79 yards; Wood 1-3-0, 19 yards
K: Deevy 6-18-3, 69 yards; Early 2-3-0, 22 yards
S: Hornstein 2-18; Hanley 2-13; Cofer 1-29; Nigel Hammond 1-19; Michael Stewart 1-19.
K: Reilly 3-48; Murray 2-11; Reichert 1-13; Miles Burton 1-10; Knolle 1-9
Steamboat Springs — All week, Steamboat Springs quarterback and free safety Tanner Stillwell heard about how good Kent Denver quarterback Will Deevy was.
He knew Deevy was big. He knew Deevy had a strong arm. And he knew Deevy was getting recruited by several Division I schools, including the University of Colorado.
Stillwell only had one goal – to pick off his offensive counterpart.
“As an opposing quarterback playing free safety, he really wanted to get a pick,” Sailor head coach Aaron Finch said.
Stillwell got his wish – twice – on Saturday, intercepting Deevy on two occasions during Steamboat’s 31-13 season-opening victory.
Stillwell’s first interception came on Kent Denver’s first possession, when the ball deflected off a receiver and into Stillwell’s hands. The second came inside Steamboat’s 10-yard line with the Sailors leading, 14-7.
“I think playing quarterback probably helped,” Stillwell said. “Especially when you’re dropping back into the pass coverage, you can see where the receivers were going and can see where the quarterback is looking and where he is going to throw.”
Stillwell’s two picks were only part of an impressive defensive showing for the Sailors.
Through the game’s first three quarters, the defense gave up 57 total yards, including minus-12 on the ground. The defense also created four turnovers.
“I am glad I don’t have to play against it anymore,” Finch said. “We did the first week of practice against it, and it’s a tough ‘D’ to go against. We can attack you a lot of ways. Against the run, we were about as solid as we could hope for today.”
Going against a quarterback like Deevy, Finch said the defense took it upon itself to carry the offense.
“We jumped on (Deevy) well,” linebacker Westin Cofer said. “We took him out of the game. He spent a lot of time on his back. He was a good quarterback, don’t get me wrong, but we handled him pretty well.”
After Stillwell’s first interception, Ben Deline kicked a 43-yard field goal to put Steamboat up, 3-0. After another Deline field goal, Jay Hanley took a handoff from Stillwell, broke four tackles and scampered 69 yards to the end zone to put Steamboat ahead, 14-0.
Kent Denver got on the board early in the second quarter when Stillwell was hit as he threw. The ball went directly into defensive tackle Samuel Swomley’s hands, and he returned it 39 yards for a touchdown.
The momentum seemed to turn to Kent Denver’s side after the Sailors went three-and-out on their next possession. But that’s when Stillwell made his second interception. On the ensuing drive, Steamboat drove down the field, and Deline kicked a last-second field goal to put Steamboat ahead, 17-7, at the half.
Finch couldn’t say enough about how valuable Deline proved to be not only kicking field goals, but also winning the field-position battle.
“They had their backs to the end zone all day,” he said. “Field position with the kicking game is really important. That allows the defense to be aggressive with guys moving all over. It gives them a little more room to do that. We can take more risks.”
Jay Hanley scored two more times – once from two yards out and the other from one yard – to put the Sailors up 31-7 in the third quarter.
Kent Denver picked up a late touchdown against Steamboat’s second-team defense.
With less than a week to prepare for Friday’s game at Laramie, Wyo., Finch said there’s work to be done on both sides of the ball. But he was relieved to start the season with a win.
“To be here, you want the win and to keep undefeated on the new field,” he said. “It’s a good solid start. I am proud of the kids.”
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Though the city of Steamboat Springs saw a slight decline in 2020 sales tax revenue as COVID-19 hit Routt County, the city is expected to catch up to its 2019 revenues.