Thursday, November 4, 2004
The Steamboat Springs football team has the chance to prove something in tonight's regular season finale against Glenwood Springs.
The Demons are a lock for the playoffs after finishing third in the Western Slope League. The Sailors (3-5 overall, 3-4 in the league) will wrap up the football season tonight -- win or lose -- but a win will show something to Steamboat's seniors and its returning players.
"We feel this is a great opportunity to figure out where we have gotten to over the course of the season," Sailors coach Aaron Finch said. "This is a good chance for the seniors to find out how far this team has come and for the underclassmen to see where we are."
Steamboat already has answered some questions, having rebounded from a 0-5 start to win three consecutive games by an average of nearly 30 points.
The offense has come around, the ground game has flourished, and last week, against a much-improved Delta squad, the Sailors' defense pitched a shutout for the first time all season in sloppy field conditions.
"It was a fun game," Finch said. "The defense really showed up to play."
Glenwood presents the toughest opponent Steamboat has seen since a Sept. 24 loss to Moffat County. The Demons are 6-3 overall and 5-2 in Western Slope League play entering the 7 p.m. game today at Glenwood Springs High School.
Finch isn't surprised that the Demons have turned into a playoff team. He remembers the Demons' athleticism and talent when he was coaching at the junior varsity level. First-year coach Rocky Whitworth, a former coach at Roaring Fork, Colorado State University and Grandview High School, has taken Glenwood to the next level.
"There's no question, looking at the score and watching film, they are the top defense in the league this year," Finch said. "They've taken the top offenses in the league and shut them down. They aren't real big, but they fly around."
Glenwood and Steamboat run a similar 3-5 defensive scheme, predicated on man coverage on the corners and athleticism up front and in the linebacking core. Glenwood has each. Steamboat has shown it does, as well.
The Demons will focus on the Sailors' running game and force sophomore Tanner Stillwell to throw the football, but Steamboat's passing game also has proved to be potent at times this season. Stillwell hasn't seen the blitzing packages he will be see tonight, so the offensive line and the backfield will need to give him time to make his reads.
"We can finish the season on an undefeated streak, and that can mean a lot to our seniors," Finch said. "I hope they would take a lot of pride in that and hopefully our underclassmen would too."