Steamboat Springs A combination of talent and desire made for a successful 2002 season for the Steamboat Springs eighth-grade football team.
More impressive than their 6-3 overall record was the kids' willingness to learn and work hard, coach Mike Powell said.
"I had a bunch of great kids," he said. "They were probably the best group of kids I've ever coached. They were well behaved, and they listened really well, which is a little unusual for eighth-graders."
Powell said the cornerstone of his team was sound play up front, which translated into a dominant ground game. The importance of blocking, tackling and executing running plays was stressed largely because these are the fundamentals that make for great high school players.
"We didn't give them more than they could handle," Powell said. "We worked on having the offensive linemen block and having the running backs understand where the holes are. It was basic stuff, but stuff they'll use the rest of the time they play football."
Two of the Sailors' losses were to Moffat County by a combined score of 18-0.
If their respect for each other and their coaches sticks with them, the 35 eighth-graders that went out for football should be successful as they move on to high school, Powell said.
"We had some talent," he said. "The kids can understand, but if you don't have the talent and the players, it won't make a difference if you know what you're doing or not. We had some good linemen. I was not able to throw the ball, but we pretty much dominated running. I focused on the fundamentals of the game. They excelled at the fundamentals."
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