Steamboat preps for Windsor |

Steamboat preps for Windsor

2nd playoff game expected to be Saturday in Steamboat

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs High School senior Joe Dover returns the ball for 70 yards to score during the second half of Steamboat's Friday night game. The Sailors won, 24-13, to advance to the second round. Steamboat will face Windsor on Saturday at Gardner Field.
Matt Stensland

— Coming off its first playoff win in two years, the Steamboat Springs High School football team got good news Saturday when Windsor beat Pueblo County.

The Wizards' 33-20 win against the Hornets means the Sailors will host the second round of the playoffs.

Although a time and date haven't been determined, Steamboat coach Aaron Finch said the game would probably be Saturday.

It also means Steamboat won't have to travel to Pueblo County, a team that has knocked the Sailors out of the playoffs two of the past three years.

"I think it's good," Finch said. "Some­­times you need things to go your way to get through each step of the playoffs. I'm glad knowing that we'll have at least two home playoff games."

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But it's the first home playoff game, Steamboat's 24-13 win Friday against Berthoud, that has the coach excited.

Despite the offense's season-low output in terms of yards, the Sailors proved why they are at least in the discussion of teams that could make a run at the Class 3A championship.

In addition to the defense playing lights out, the team got two huge special teams plays to seal the win.

Joe Dover's returns of 84 and 70 yards — the latter for a touchdown — helped score 10 points and proved to be the biggest difference.

But with Windsor on the horizon, a team out of the same league as Berthoud, is Steamboat worried about its offensive production?

No doubt Windsor and Berthoud will share information, and considering Berthoud held the Steamboat offense down for most of the game, it would be logical to think there might be some worries in the Steamboat huddle.

"Oh no, of course not," Finch said. "The reality is, with our offense and defense, it's all the same kids. Not many guys come off the field. A game like (Friday's), you know they're going to have a strong defense. When you see our defense playing the way it is, maybe your offense isn't as wide open as possible."

Steamboat's running numbers were strong Friday as the Sailors averaged 5 yards a carry. But maybe a little more worrisome is the passing attack. Steamboat threw for only 78 yards, and quarterback Austin Hinder matched his season total with two interceptions.

Hinder, however, said Sat­urday that his off day could be attributed partly to Berthoud but mostly to him.

"They had a really good defense," Hinder said. "The two interceptions were just plain stupidity on my part. I was trying to force in balls. But it's good. It's just another learning experience."

Finch, who was at Saturday's Windsor-Pueblo County game, got somewhat of an idea of what the Wizards do but said he didn't want to say much before watching film.

He did say Windsor was an athletic team with big players and a large roster. He said it was tough to tell how Steamboat would match up because Pueblo County and Steamboat are two different teams.

Windsor finished the season 7-2 overall, its losses came against Class 4A Northridge and Class 3A No. 3 seed Moun­tain View. For comparison, Berthoud lost to Mountain View, 7-6, and Windsor lost to Mountain View, 21-7.

Finch said he expects his team to play much better this week. He said his team played a little tight Friday, especially considering that few players had made it through the first round of the playoffs.

He said he thinks that with a win in their back pockets, the Sailors will start to get back into their groove.

"It goes back to relaxing and playing the way we can play," he said. "We didn't play with quite the same rhythm. A lot of that is Berthoud is a good football team. They take you out of what you like to do. Now I think we'll be able to settle into our playoffs.

"We're excited to be in the second round and continue on. It's fun football, and the kids are loving it. We want to keep at this a couple more weeks."

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