Sailors to play football

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Steamboat Springs football coach Mark Drake confirmed Tuesday that his varsity team will play Friday.

There was speculation that a majority of Steamboat's varsity players, particularly its starters, would not play in Friday's game against Battle Mountain because the game has no playoff implications.

It is a nonleague game, and Steamboat already has clinched a playoff spot.

Weather forecasts are calling for snow Thursday and Friday in Minturn. The snow is supposed to taper off Friday evening but possibly return to the Vail area Saturday morning.

As October turns into November, rain or snow is a possibility everywhere in the state, so Drake sees the chance of snow Friday as a chance for his first-string offense to gain experience playing in adverse conditions.

Earlier this season, the Sailors had a difficult time moving the ball against Glenwood Springs in the rain in a 21-14 win.

"We need to go in with the attitude that this will be our tune-up, and we need to play in those conditions," Drake said. "The varsity will definitely play, but it will probably be a limited amount. We know we should win, but my biggest concern is that we take the right mental approach to this game."

Drake wants his players to avoid getting lazy and lethargic and play the aggressive style of football that brought them to 8-1 this season.

Steamboat clinched a share of the league title with a 22-12 win against Moffat County on Oct. 24, but Steamboat's playoff seed won't be set until the conclusion of Friday's game between Moffat County and Palisade in Craig.

Two scenarios are possible, based on the outcome of that game:

If Moffat County wins Friday, Steamboat and Moffat County will have matching 5-1 league records, but the Sailors will be the top seed from the Western Slope because Steamboat defeated Moffat County head to head.

Steamboat will then host the Class 3A wild card in the opening round. Though official wild-card points have not been released, it is almost certain Palisade will end up being the state's wild card with an 8-2 overall record, assuming it loses to Moffat County.

If Palisade wins Friday, Palisade and Steamboat will have matching 5-1 league records, but the Bulldogs will be the top seed from the Western Slope because Palisade defeated Steamboat head to head.

Rifle will then turn its hopes to the wild card, and Steamboat will host the No. 3 finisher from the Tri-Valley league, which would be Sterling, Windsor or Berthoud. The final standings in that league will be determined Friday, as well.

Steamboat defeated Berthoud earlier this year, 20-7.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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