‘We never gave up’: Sailors can’t stop powerful Palisade running game | SteamboatToday.com

‘We never gave up’: Sailors can’t stop powerful Palisade running game

Palisade football team junior quarterback Malakhi Espinosa dodges a Sailors defender during a game at Steamboat Springs High School on Friday night.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The Steamboat Springs High School football team scored in its opening drive against Palisade on Friday night with four swift passes from senior quarterback Jake Hamric, capped with a 2-yard catch by senior Ben Bogan.

The Bulldogs answered with an even faster scoring drive on the ground, concluded by a 3-yard rush by junior quarterback Malakhi Espinosa.

Four minutes and 2 seconds in, the game between the top teams in the Western Slope was tied at 7. If that dynamic persisted, Friday’s game was sure to be a shootout. Unfortunately, Steamboat couldn’t keep up that pace.

Palisade scored four more times in the first half to develop a 35-19 advantage, which they transformed into a 62-26 win.

“We knew we had our hands full tonight, and I’m proud of our boys,” said Steamboat head coach Jay Hamric. “We never gave up. We threw the ball well. We had our moments, and I’m proud of our guys. When you get beat, sometimes it’s hard to keep your head up, but we never got down, yelled at each other, blamed each other, pointed fingers. You play the sport long enough, you’re going to get beat by a good team.”

Palisade was powerful on the ground, packing the backfield with options, including Espinosa and Phallen Salvati. The Bulldogs had options, and all of them were slippery. The Sailors struggled bringing down the Palisade runners, who spun, faked and jolted their way around tackles. Espinosa scored twice and Salvati four times.

“Their run game was just kind of tricky. They’d kind of sneak it out,” said senior lineman and linebacker Griffin Park. “Their offensive line would just come down super hard, so we wouldn’t be able to fill. It was a whole bunch of things.”

Cade Gedeon, a junior on the Steamboat Springs High School football team, makes a touchdown catch during a game against Palisade on Friday night.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Steamboat stayed in the game with a 40-yard touchdown pass to Austin Moore with 7 seconds before halftime to bring the score to 35-19. The Sailors tried to trim the deficit with a 2-point conversion, but the attempt failed.

The Sailors seemed to make some positive changes at halftime. The boys in red and black slowed Palisade, eating up more than 5 minutes before the Bulldogs scored for the first time in the third.

Jake Hamric, the senior quarterback on the Steamboat Springs High School football team, makes a pass to an open teammate during a game against Palisade on Friday night.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

“We studied their film at halftime and made some adjustments, changed some players up and changed our whole game plan,” said senior receiver and linebacker Ben Schott. “We started getting better around the fourth quarter but couldn’t quite get it.”

Already, Steamboat is ready to learn from its mistakes, move on and focus on Battle Mountain next week.

Parks said the team will use the loss and the “full head of steam” to move toward an 8-2 record.

“We’re gonna work harder,” Schott said. “We’re going to learn from our mistakes, definitely. We’re going to get rested up, and we’re going to come back stronger.”

Palisade 62, Steamboat Springs 26

SS 7 12 0 7

P 13 22 13 14

First quarter

SS – Ben Bogan 2 pass from Jake Hamric, Charlie Reisman kick, 9:44

P – Malakhi Espinosa 3 rush, Trustin Miller kick, 7:58

P – Phallen Salvati 50 pass, kick no good, 2:08

Second quarter

SS – Cade Gedeon 18 pass from Hamric, kick blocked, 9:56

P – Salvati 12 rush, conversion, 8:37

P – Salvati 4 rush, Salvati rush, 6:18

P – Espinosa 3 rush, kick wide, 2:40

SS – Austin Moore 40 pass, conversion no good, 0:07

Third quarter

P – Salvati 4 rush, conversion no good, 6:40

P – Espinosa 4 rush, kick good, 0:07

Fourth quarter

P – 4 rush, kick good, 8:47

SS – Ben Schott 65 pass from Hamric, Reisman kick, 8:29

P – Franklin Barks 1 rush, kick good, 4:56

Steamboat Springs Football Schedule

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, W 20-17

Oct. 8 - at Eagle Valley, W 31-30

Oct. 15 - vs. Glenwood Springs, W 28-27

Oct. 22 - vs. Palisade, L 62-26

Oct. 29 - at Battle Mountain, L 41-7

Nov. 5 - vs. Summit, L 55-27

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