Stewart Beall carried Steamboat to a 56-14 victory over the Delta Panthers Friday, as he surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season and helped his Sailors to a Nov. 11 date in the state playoffs.
The Sailors, 8-2 and 5-2, rushed for 533 yards behind Beall and Derek Haverley who ended the regular season as the team's leading rushers. Quarterback Rusty Eck was a menace on every option that he ran Friday, and he added 49 yards through the air.
Steamboat held a 582 to 243 advantage over Delta on offense, and the defense gave up just seven points. Delta player Ramon Jackson returned a kick for a 92-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
Beall, who rushed for 220 yards on 34 carries, ended the season with 1,113 yards. He earned most of his yards against Delta the hard way, up the middle and right through the Panthers defense.
Haverley also ran fiercely against the Panthers as he picked up 159 yards on 15 carries. He scored the game's first touchdown on a seven-yard sweep around the right side at the 7-minute and one-second mark of the opening quarter.
Steamboat, which averages 44 points per game this season, unleashed its firecracker offense for the first three quarters, before most of the varsity players enjoyed the fourth quarter from the sidelines.
As every second ticked closer to the end, the players rightfully became more and more anxious to celebrate the win. The Sailors clinched a state playoff berth Nov. 11, though an opponent and site has not yet been determined.
Delta dropped to 4-6 and 3-4 on the year.
The Sailors' defense, which allowed just 13.3 points per game this year, played one of its most aggressive contests during the season. Defensive lineman Tristan Covillo forced two fumbles and recorded a sack, and linebackers Blake Julian and Gaspar Perricone led the team in tackles with four a piece. Julian also had a sack.
Dillon Gottshall recovered a fumble and Raimundo Moreno scooped up a loose ball on the offensive side, which he ran for six yards. Moreno was a stallion on the play, picking up the ball and turning the botched play into a 10-yard gain.
Beall had the team's second score on a five-yard run near the end of the first quarter and Eck put the Sailors up 21-0 on a one-yard keeper early in the second. Beall set up Eck's touchdown with a 16-yard run up the middle.
Steamboat coach Mark Drake probably wished he would have run his leading rusher more against Rifle during a 23-13 loss Oct. 27, he said. Beall, who missed three games this year with an ankle injury, has done an excellent job carrying the team, Drake said.
"He pounds away at it," Drake said. "Just look at the game he had tonight and the game that he had last week."
Bruce Wenzlau, defensive coordinator, gave praise to his defensive front four of JoJo Bucci, Wes Adams, Covillo and Gottshall. Each of the players made crushing tackles against Delta, and the players were quick to the quarterback all night.
"We did some different things to try to free those guys up a bit and they made it work," Wenzlau said.
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