Thursday, October 2, 2003
Delta is one of the best 1-4 teams Mark Drake has prepped to play.
The Steamboat Springs football coach is impressed with the athletic ability of Delta's 6-foot-5 quarterback and his receiving corps. Behind lead blockers, the Panthers' Blake Carlquist can roll out and throw deep, pitch off or keep the ball on the quarterback option.
In a 55-20 loss to Rifle on Sept. 26, Delta threw the ball 40 times.
Drake's description of the Panthers' versatility and talent easily could be used when talking about the Sailors. And if the past holds true, fans can expect another hotly contested homecoming game between Steamboat (4-1 overall, 1-1 in league) and Delta (1-4, 0-1) at 7 p.m. today at Gardner Field.
Last season, Steamboat escaped with a 19-18 win in Delta on its homecoming night.
The Sailors turned the ball over four times in the first half but rallied in the second half, controlling the ball and the clock in a come-from-behind victory.
This season, Steamboat meets Delta coming off a 41-31 loss to Palisade on Sept. 26 in which the Sailors' five second-half turnovers contributed heavily to the defeat. Steamboat can ill afford to repeatedly give the ball away to a Delta team with a proven ability to score.
"We've always had a real tough game with Delta," Drake said. "They are a very physical team and again we are going against a team bigger than we are. We have to be poised."
Defensively, Steamboat's line will need to apply pressure, while the secondary and linebackers contain the perimeter and option game, Drake said. This week in practice, the Sailors worked on their pass defense and team pursuit to the outside.
Steamboat quarterback David May threw for nearly 400 yards against Palisade last week in the Sailors' first loss of the season, proving that they have an explosive passing offense.
Steamboat carried the ball 19 times for nearly 4 yards per carry against Palisade, but Drake envisions a moment this season when the pass eventually opens up the ground game.
He wouldn't mind if it was tonight.
Homecoming festivities continue today with the parade at 2 p.m. downtown featuring the homecoming royalty and floats.
This year's court consists of seniors Greg Packer, Hannah Gary, Melissa White, Sean Carlson, Andy Comeau, Lauren Lightfoot, Matt Legrice and Meryl Meranski. The junior representatives are Luke Ferris and Jenna Hammerslag. The sophomore representatives are Missy Chotvacs and Andy White. The freshmen representatives are Heidi Keenan and David Comeau.