It's hard not to stare.
Wednesday afternoon, as the Steamboat Springs football coaches watched D'Evelyn on the game film that is their only visible scouting tool, eyes kept focusing on a football player heads and shoulders above everyone else -- literally.
Jaguars lineman T.J. Hogle is listed as 6-foot-8, 315 pounds. D'Evelyn coach Chris Baker said Hogle probably isn't 315 pounds at this point in the season, but the coach confirmed Hogle is "every bit of 6-foot-8 and every bit of 300 pounds."
Steamboat doesn't have an offensive or defensive lineman within two small children of 300 pounds, but the Sailors figure they have been undersized on defense all season, so this week won't be any different.
"He's only got 1 foot and 150 pounds on me," Sailors linebacker Donald Dillon said with a smile.
The Sailors (10-1) just hope they are smiling at the conclusion of Saturday's 1 p.m. game against D'Evelyn (11-0) at Gardner Field.
While Hogle has seen his fair share of double and triple teams on the field and his fair share of attention because of it -- he is an almost certain Division I prospect -- he isn't winning games by himself.
Behind him and the other talented D'Evelyn linemen is an offense and defense surging with confidence after the school's first playoff win ever -- a 35-3 victory over Alamosa -- last weekend.
The Jaguars defense hasn't given up a touchdown in two games. Meanwhile, the offense notched 84 points in the same time frame. D'Evelyn has been held to less than 25 points once this season, beating Englewood 17-3 on Sept. 12.
As if he was checking items off a list, Steamboat coach Mark Drake went through D'Evelyn and could nary find a weakness: "Running backs -- good. QB -- good. Receivers -- good. Defense -- good. It's a good team."
Last week against Alamosa, D'Evelyn picked off three passes that hampered any chance Alamosa had for getting back in that game.
Alamosa coach Manny Wasinger said D'Evelyn was a talented football team, but he wouldn't go as far as handing them the state championship trophy -- or an easy win over Steamboat.
"They are definitely a good football team," Wasinger said. "But we still feel like if we had played well, we could have beaten them. I don't know much about Mark's team, but I think they should have a chance."
Before the win against Alamosa, D'Evelyn went undefeated through its Metro League schedule. Each team is allowed a maximum of 10 games, and because the Metro League has 12 members, every Jaguar game was a league game.
Drake said it was difficult to gauge D'Evelyn on film because it's difficult to gauge the depth of the Metro League. Five teams from the Metro made the playoffs -- the league gets five automatic invites -- but D'Evelyn is the only team left.
Englewood was the second seed but was upset by Pueblo County of the Southern League, 22-9.
"I don't think the Metro League is a weak league," Baker said. "We have some weak teams, but every league does."
Proof that D'Evelyn is ready for postseason football should have come last weekend when it beat Alamosa, Baker said.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208
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