Steamboat football set for Delta |

Steamboat football set for Delta

Sailors hope for a happy homecoming

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs — Finding comfort in the canals of losing can be tough. — Finding comfort in the canals of losing can be tough.

— Finding comfort in the canals of losing can be tough.

But finding motivation to get out of that could be a little easier this week for the Steamboat Springs High School football team. With a homecoming game — where all attending are asked to wear black as part of a blackout — at 7 p.m. today against Delta, Steamboat hopes to follow the script of the Colorado State University football team.

As a team-building activity, Steamboat players attended Saturday's 36-34 Colorado State win against the University of Idaho. The team watched warmups from the sidelines before watching the game from the stands. 

Colorado State entered Sat­urday not having won in 12 games, a stretch of 364 miserable days. Steamboat Springs alumnus Ben DeLine kicked the game winner minutes after missing an extra point. In some weird way, things seem to set up well for Steamboat this week.

"That was good for our kids to see," Steamboat coach Lonn Clementson said. "It was great to see Ben DeLine make the field goal. It was a perfect day. I couldn't have scripted it any better. … It was fun to watch the kids soak up the atmosphere and experience."

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But motivational techniques aside, results will be determined on the field against a Delta team most thought would battle for a Western Slope League title with Palisade and Glenwood Springs. 

Delta opened the season, 2-0, and was ranked in the top 10 by The Denver Post. The team narrowly lost to Steamboat, 36-27, last year and made it to the Class 3A state quarterfinals. But Delta has lost two in a row, including a 26-7 loss last week to Moffat County. The Bulldogs were able to run for 273 yards on 63 carries. The Panthers (2-2 overall, 0-1 in the Western Slope League) had the ball for only six minutes in the game.

"We know Delta's going to be solid and salty," Clementson said. "It sounds like the last two weeks they've been dominated at the line. I'm sure they've worked on that, and we'll have our hands full." 

No doubt Steamboat's performance was much better last week in a 21-12 loss to Eagle Valley. After three blowout losses, Steamboat (0-4, 0-1) was a couple of plays away from a potentially different outcome.

There were some good numbers, but some equally bad ones. Steamboat outgained Eagle Valley 364 yards to 264. But whereas Eagle Valley took advantage of opportunities Steamboat afforded it, the Sailors threw theirs away.

Steamboat failed on fourth down four times in Eagle Valley territory, including three times inside the Devils' 20-yard line. Steamboat ran 14 plays in the Eagle Valley red zone — including eight plays from the 10-yard line and closer — but came away with just seven points in those opportunities.

"We honestly feel that particular game, not taking anything away from Eagle Valley, but that was about us making mistakes," Clementson said. "But there were fewer mistakes and more positive plays this week than the previous week. We're still building and getting better. Anybody in the stands has seen the improvement. It has to continue" today. 

— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail

If you go

What: Steamboat football (0-4) vs. Delta (2-2)

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Gardner Field

Cost: $5 for adults, $4 for students and seniors

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