Steamboat Springs football earns thrilling victory over Valley
The Steamboat Springs High School football team was unrecognizable Saturday night. The Sailors were locked down on defense and showed off a dangerous offense in a 28-15 victory over Valley High School.
The hometown crowd was living for the action. Ten cheerleaders and a student section more than 100 strong kept Gardner Field rowdy. It was energy that’s been absent from the stadium for some time.
“I remember my freshman, sophomore years, people were leaving by halftime. The stands were gone,” senior quarterback Jake Hamric said. “It’s been awesome with COVID ending, and our class is really into all these sporting events, and with our football team trying to change the culture of our team, everything is lining up well.”
The excitement started right away. After two quick defensive stops, Steamboat strung together a scoring drive. Hamric threw 15-plus yards to sophomore Beck Vanderbosh. The receiver was under heavy pressure, but he jumped higher than his Valley defender. Catching the ball between the defender’s hands, Vanderbosh put the Sailors up 6-0. Junior Cade Gedeon completed the two-point conversion, and the home team had an 8-0 lead with 7:36 left in the first.
In a game of thrilling plays, the Sailors seemed to agree that this one was the biggest, setting the tone for the entire evening.
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In the second quarter, Steamboat stomped down the field but encountered a roadblock on the 2-yard line: fourth down. Confident in their field position, the Sailors went for it. The offensiveline guided Hamric over the line of scrimmage to earn the first down.
With a yard between his team and a touchdown, Hamric put the ball in the hands of running back Brady Grove. At first, it looked like Grove was caught up in the crowd and getting pushed backward. Suddenly, he burst from the side and ran uncontested into the end zone.
“Our motto going into the game was, ‘play for the man who’s next to you,’” Hamric said. “If some of us made a bad play, like I threw two interceptions, we got behind each other and were able to lift each other up. I think that’s how we were successful tonight.”
Players said that game motto and the season motto of “be the change” has made a huge difference. They’ve never been more fired up and more prepared, and they said that’s because of the coaching staff.
“We love each other,” Gedeon said.
“We’re a family,” Vanderbosh added.
With 1:35 left in the half, Valley scored on an interception return. The Sailors could have panicked, but they stayed cool. With 19 seconds left in the half, the Vikings were nearing the end zone again, but Steamboat had them on their heels. On fourth down, Valley threw the ball toward the end zone. Sailor junior Austin Moore dashed their hopes of scoring, intercepting the ball and traveling a couple yards.
In the second half, Gedeon got redemption for three straight dropped passes in the second quarter. In the third, he intercepted the ball and ran nearly half the field to score. That was Hamric’s favorite play of the game.
Early in the fourth, Hamric sent a soaring pass to Gedeon, who effortlessly caught the 35-yard throw and spun around two Valley defenders to score.
The game against 2A Valley was the first of five non-league games on the Sailors’ schedule leading up to five league games. The win doesn’t guarantee Steamboat will look as smooth against regional teams, but it’s certainly a great place to start.
Steamboat Springs 28, Valley 15
SS 8 6 7 7 – 28
V 0 7 0 8 – 15
SS — Beck Vanderbosh 15 pass from Jake Hamric, Cade Gedeon conversion, 7:36
SS — Brady Grove 1 rush, conversion no good, 3:05
V — Giovanni Mendoza INT return, PAT good, 1:32
SS — Cade Gedeon INT return, Charlie Reisman kick, 2:53
SS — Gedeon 35 pass form Hamric, Reisman kick, 9:43 (28-7)
V — six rush, conversion good, 0:57
Aug. 28 - vs. Valley, W 28-15
Sept. 3 - at Moffat County, L 50-0
Sept. 10 - vs. Middle Park, W 27-7
Sept. 17 - at Coal Ridge, W 24-6
Sept. 24 - vs. Aspen, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 - at Eagle Valley, 7 p.m.
Oct. 15 - vs. Glenwood Springs, 7 p.m.
Oct. 22 - vs. Palisade, 7 p.m.
Oct. 29 - at Battle Mountain, 7 p.m.
Nov. 5 - vs. Summit, 7 p.m.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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