Mud-soaked and smiling, Steamboat Springs cornerback Chris Dombey looked over his shoulder, pointed at the scoreboard and shouted, "Twenty-two to nothing? You've got to be kidding me!"
Dombey wasn't surprised Steamboat won. But he was a bit overjoyed that D'Evelyn, a team averaging 42 points a game before Saturday, traveled 150 miles only to stall offensively in the Sailors' 22-0 second-round upset.
It was Steamboat's first shutout of the season.
"The defense rolled it (Saturday)," Dombey said. "Twenty-two to nothing. The state didn't expect that."
Neither did coach Chris Baker and the Jaguars, who finish the 2003 season at 11-1.
"They played great. We didn't," Baker said.
D'Evelyn found itself behind for the first time all season when Steamboat kicker Tyler Fosdick connected on a 28-yard field goal with 52 seconds left in the first quarter. After a scoreless second, the Sailors, 11-1, tacked on one more score in the third quarter and two more in the fourth, distancing themselves from the visiting Jaguars to set up a semifinal match-up with defending champion Florence next weekend.
Florence beat Moffat County, 33-13, on Saturday in Craig.
"We weren't supposed to have a defense, and look how these kids have matured and come along," Steamboat coach Mark Drake said. "Coach (Bob) Harris' game plan was pretty good, wasn't it?"
Yes it was.
Going just off game film of the Jaguars, Harris, the Sailors' defensive coordinator, put together a scheme that left the Jaguars' power offense powerless.
Harris lined up Michael Herbert on the inside of D'Evelyn's 6-foot-8, 315-pound T.J. Hogle. Harris put strong safety Shea Hurley on the outside of Hogle and blitzed Hurley on every play, leaving the Sailors' other three defensive backs in man coverage.
Linebacker Charlie Pappas shadowed Scott MacDonald, the Jaguars' leading rusher, holding him to 53 yards on 14 carries.
Steamboat's defensive ends -- Chris Baumann and Clay McKenzie -- kept D'Evelyn quarterback Josh Schneider in the pocket, limiting his perimeter play-making abilities.
Schneider threw one pass to Matt Supan for 41 yards. His other five completions went for no more than 23 yards.
"This was our best defensive game of the year, no question," Harris said.
One week after looking flat and off rhythm against Sterling, Steamboat rebounded offensively, as well. While the Sailors didn't put up gaudy numbers, they managed to mix things up enough to keep the Jaguars off balance.
Steamboat gained just 77 yards on the ground, while quarterback David May completed 15 of 27 passes for 285 yards with one interception and one touchdown.
May also rushed for 51 yards and a touchdown. Seven of May's 15 carries came in the fourth quarter, as the Sailors tried to chew up time on drives.
For most of Saturday's game, the body language of D'Evelyn's players spoke volumes. When the Jaguars came out after the half -- only trailing by three points and assured of the kickoff -- they slowly worked their way to the sidelines.
Baker said he noticed it, too.
"I don't have any explanation," he said. "There's really no good reason."
Herbert said he got the sense the Jaguars were doubting their chances of winning when they realized they were having little success running behind Hogle and 6-foot-2, 235-pound lineman Owen McCann.
"They thought they were coming in here to destroy us," May said.
With the win, the Sailors improved to 6-0 on Gardner Field. Steamboat now will prepare for next weekend's game at Florence. It marks the third time in Drake's 30 year coaching career at Steamboat that his team has made the state semifinals.
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