Steamboat Springs With just two days remaining until the conference opener in Craig, Steamboat Springs' J.J. Simon was clearly focused on one thing.
His own team's play.
"We really don't know anything about Moffat County," Simon said. "I guess we will see what they have when we get there."
The Sailors, 2-1-1, will open the conference season at 4 p.m. Thursday at Craig's Loudy Simpson Park against the Moffat County Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have faced a challenging non-conference schedule this season and are still in search of the squad's first win. In the first two weeks of play, Moffat County has fallen victim to Cheyenne Mountain, Standley Lake, Denver East and Grand Junction Central.
The Sailors, however, are not taking the embattled Moffat County squad lightly.
"It's time to perform," Sailors head coach Rob Bohlmann said. "With the exception of one game against Aspen, the rest of the games from here on out count toward the conference standings."
The Bulldogs are a young team this season with, 16 freshman on the roster. The team is anchored by senior Isidro Quezada, who leads the team in scoring with two goals and two assists this season.
"We will need to stop him if we want to win," Simon said of the Moffat County forward. "I think he is going to be tough."
But despite the Bulldogs' lack of high-powered players, Simon insists the Sailors will have no problem getting up for this game.
"We don't have a huge rivalry with Moffat County," Simon said. "It's not like some of the other sports. But this is our conference opener and we want to be up for every game this season regardless of who we are playing."
Moffat County coach Eric Johnson said his team will also be up for the important conference game.
"We have a lot of talent on this team," Johnson said. "I think we match most of the teams in the conference when it comes to talent. What we don't have is a whole lot of experience."
Johnson will be leaning on three senior players this season for leadership, including Quezada.
Also on the hot seat are seniors Sean Gannon and Jeff Braselton. Unfortunately, Braselton broke his hand and is questionable for this week's contest against the Sailors.
The Craig team also has a couple of outstanding underclassmen, including junior defensive specialist Alex Johnson and sophomore stopper Eric Havrilla.
"I think the key for us is to stop their speed," Johnson said. "If we can do that, then we have a chance to be successful."
The Sailors are hoping for nothing but success in the opening week of conference play. In addition to the contest with Moffat County on Thursday, Steamboat will also play Palisade on Saturday.
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