Steamboat Springs With a 56-14 win over the Delta Panthers, the Steamboat Sailors cemented a spot in the state playoffs Friday.
Steamboat, 8-2 and 5-2, went back to the basics against Delta on Nov. 3 as the offensive line paved the way for its leading rushersStewart Beall and Derek Haverley who gained most of the Sailors' 533 yards on the ground.
The Sailors did what they needed to against the Panthers as they outrushed, outmuscled and outscored Delta behind their powerful line. The Sailors, who are No. 3 in the Western Slope conference, are joined in the playoffs by league foes Palisade and Rifle.
The Sailors now play the Conifer Lobos at 6 p.m. Friday at Trailblazer Stadium in Lakewood. The Lobos, who were in the 4A Jefferson County league last season, competed in the 3A North Central League in 2000.
JoJo Bucci, one of the Sailors' captains and two-way starters, says his team will be fired up when it travels from Steamboat to play in its fourth consecutive road game of the season.
"The Lobos can expect some hard-hitting football," Bucci said. "They can expect a lot of scoring, a lot of long drives, a lot of Stewie and a lot of Haverley.
"We're coming down from the mountains and we're ready this time."
Beall, known as "Stewie" by teammates, is Steamboat's leading rusher this season with 1,113 yards. He averages 139 yards per game and is followed by Haverley, who has an average of 81 yards per game. Haverley has 732 yards on just 77 carries.
Against Delta, the two runners combined for 379 yards.
The Sailors held a 582 to 243 advantage over the Panthers on offense despite having been penalized nine times for 55 yards. The defense, led by its line, had zero penalties against Delta. The defensive front four played exceptionally well, said Bruce Wenzlau, defensive coordinator.
"We did some things to try to free those guys up a bit and they made it work," Wenzlau said.
Tristan Covillo forced two fumbles and recorded a sack, and linebacker Blake Julian had four tackles, four assists and a sack.
Gaspar Perricone, also a linebacker, made four tackles and had four assists, and Dillon Gottshall had a fumble recovery.
Tanner Barr finished with 54 yards rushing on three carries and Hunter Maddox had 35 yards on two carries.
Steamboat never trailed in the contest but was tested briefly during the second quarter when Jacob Schmalz broke a couple of tackles and scampered 41 yards for a touchdown.
Schmalz's touchdown made the score 28-14 in favor of Steamboat with just more than two minutes remaining. But Rusty Eck found Haverley in the end zone for a 30-yard strike with 33 seconds left in the half. The Sailors headed into the locker room with a 35-14 lead.
Against Conifer, Steamboat faces the toughest defense it has seen all year. The Lobos, 9-1 and 8-0, allow just 7.3 points per game. Steamboat, meanwhile, averages 44.1 points per game on offense.
"We really don't think they have the league we do," Bucci said. "They haven't played a Rifle, a Palisade or a Steamboat yet."