Thursday, November 2, 2000
Steamboat Springs Nine games into the 2000 season and the members of the Steamboat Springs football team know their postseason hopes will hinge on a single score.
"The key for us is to put together a complete game," Sailors head coach Mark Drake said. "We will need to perform well on kickoffs, offense and defense all of that, if we want to win."
Drake thinks these will be the keys when the third-place Steamboat Springs Sailors, 4-2, and fourth-place Delta Panthers, 3-3, square off in a 7 p.m. game tonight in Delta. The contest should determine which team will advance to the state playoffs.
A win will put the Sailors into the playoffs for the first time in three years. The local team would have to travel to face the No. 1 team in the Jefferson County League. But Drake said a chance at getting to the playoffs has been an important goal for his players the entire season.
"It's been a goal all season to get back in the playoffs, so if the kids aren't up for this one, then something is wrong," Drake said.
It is also a big goal for the members of the Delta Panthers, who are coming off of a disappointing 14-11 loss to Moffat County in Craig last Friday.
"It was real disappointing," Delta coach Mike McGee said of his team's loss to the Bulldogs. "We had a shot to win with about 50 seconds left, but we turned the ball over and that was the game."
Last year, the Panthers advanced to the state quarterfinals before losing to Evergreen.
McGee said he lost a lot of players from that team to graduation last spring. However, he has had a lot of young players step into starting roles this season and the Panthers have enjoyed some success and are in contention for a playoff spot at 3-3.
"We have had a great week of practice," McGee said. "This is do-or-die, and we will need to play our best football (today)."
McGee thinks the key to beating the Sailors is shutting down the squad's high-powered offense and putting a lot of points on the board.
To do this, the Panthers will try to keep possession of the ball as much as possible in an effort to limit the Sailors' opportunities. Delta runs a split-back veer formation on offense that depends on two quick moving backs to do most of the work. Jacob Schmalz has rushed for 900 yards this season and Troye Floyd has gained about 700 yards, McGee said.
The team prefers to use the option play most of the time but can mix things up thanks to a strong-armed quarterback, Rich Englehart .
"We run the option most of the time, but we are not afraid to throw the ball," McGee said.
Drake said his team will need to shut down both Schmalz and Floyd this weekend to win the game.
"We've seen similar offenses this season," Drake said.
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail email@example.com