The Steamboat Springs junior varsity football team wrapped up the 2004 season with a 2-4 record. The freshmen went 1-4, but coach Mike Powell said both teams were better than their records indicate.
"We were competitive in every single game," he said. "The kids never once came out flat. The effort was there every game. This is a talented group of kids."
Without large numbers of players, freshmen, sophomores and a few juniors were forced to play a junior varsity schedule. The freshmen also played their own games.
At schools such as Rifle and Moffat County, freshmen don't play JV games. In Steamboat Springs, nearly a dozen junior varsity players were needed for varsity practices, and injuries forced several of those young players to serve a dual JV and varsity role.
Powell worked with this year's sophomores when they were eighth-graders, and he thinks the talent is there for the sophomores and freshmen to come together and be a formidable Sailors team in the coming years.
"They have all the pieces," he said.
One of the highlights from this season was a JV victory against Moffat County. In the first game Sept. 20, Moffat County won 12-8. The second game was an 18-14 win for the Sailors, despite not having a quarterback.
Freshman Nigel Hammond, who Powell praised for his willingness to play any position, took snaps before the game and came in to help Steamboat defeat Moffat County. Hammond was one of 19 freshmen out for football this fall, a number the coaching staff would like every class to hover around.
"The freshmen played a huge role on JV compared to Rifle and Craig," Powell said. "They don't allow freshmen to play JV."
Powell's optimism for the class stems from its talent and size on the offensive line -- Tucker Campbell, Alex Centner, Ty Robinson and Justin Howard saw varsity action -- and its skill position players.
Sophomore quarterback Tanner Stillwell has played varsity exclusively this season, starting six games. Sophomore running back Westin Cofer, a new addition to the team this fall, started at linebacker for Steamboat's varsity in a 42-0 beating of Delta on Friday. He was also a starting running back on JV.
"He's a spectacular player," Powell said.
Powell also thanked fellow JV and freshman coaches Pete Perry and Sean McCarthy for helping this season.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org