Thursday, September 5, 2002
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs junior varsity coach Mike McCannon remembers when Hayden beat the Sailors varsity squad.
Times changed over the years as Steamboat's margin of victory continued to grow like its school district, prompting an end to games between the respective varsity teams.
But Steamboat's proximity to Hayden makes some sort of game logical, and the Sailors junior varsity team is thrilled to get a crack at the Tigers' respected varsity program at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hayden Field.
"It says a lot about our Steamboat Sailor program as a whole when we get a chance to go up against varsity programs," McCannon said. "It is a lot of fun. We certainly look forward to it as a big challenge."
With a 20-6 victory over Moffat County on Aug. 28, Hayden (1-0) has already discarded one JV team on its schedule with relative ease. Except for one 55-yard quarterback run off a broken play last Thursday night, the Bulldogs offensive was contained, while the Tigers mixed in a little passing to compliment their effective ground game.
"It definitely helped with confidence," Tigers coach Scott Parker said. "Everything's better when you win. We had a good scrimmage and a good first game, so hopefully that carries over into Saturday."
After evaluating video, Parker said he would like his ground attack to dictate the tempo of the game more. The Tigers racked up 159 rushing yards courtesy of sophomore Cam Whiteman's 130-yard game, but Parker noted his team wasn't able to sustain long drives because the players were in good field position for most of the game. He's fully aware that isn't likely all season.
"We worked on some things we didn't do so well Thursday," Parker said. "We've had a good week of practice."
With that said, Parker doesn't feel any more pressure to win Saturday's game than any other, despite the fact it's a JV team that happens to be from Steamboat. As a first-year coach, he understands a rivalry of some sort may exist between the schools, but he hasn't experienced it firsthand.
"As a head coach, you prepare to win every week," Parker said. "We look at it as any other game."
But there is history between some of the players that will take to Hayden's field Saturday. Steamboat sophomore Trace Adams remembers playing some spirited middle school games against Hayden sophomores such as Evan Hilling and Whiteman.
Hilling and Whiteman remember the same.
"It was pretty even," Hilling said. "They beat us, but they had a lot more kids."
Hilling and Whiteman, however, quickly moved into varsity roles when they reached high school as lower numbers necessitated their assistance at Hayden. Their varsity experience, coupled with the fact they will be on the same side of the ball as senior leaders, gives the Tigers plenty of reason to believe they will win Saturday.
Members of the Sailors JV team (0-1) aren't so quick to agree, despite a 40-12 loss to Rifle's JV Tuesday. Many of them also practice at the varsity level, often against guys 50 to 60 pounds heavier, particularly on the lines, which has exposed them to the change of pace and complexities that occur between the two levels. Adams believes Steamboat's JV squad is fully equipped to handle varsity players from another school. On Saturday, everyone will find out.
"I feel we should win," Adams said. "But they are a tough team."