The Steamboat Springs football team was challenged by the Cortez Panthers on Friday as the sun set over Sleeping Ute mountain in southwest Colorado.
The Panthers put the first mark on the board within the first five minutes of the game and went on to win 34-7 to improve to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the Western Slope League.
The Sailors (0-5, 0-4) played good defense but were flagged, resulting in penalties that may have cost the game.
Steamboat senior Charlie Pappas made a remarkable run on the kickoff in the second quarter, which was action-packed as quarterback Tanner Stillwell made an impressive last-minute throw to carry the team into touchdown territory. But the opposing team -- and a penalty -- would stand in the Sailors' way. Steamboat scored a touchdown, but it was called back on a penalty. A second touchdown was denied on a penalty.
With 2 minutes, 23 seconds left in the second quarter, Sailor Brad Bonner scored a touchdown to tie the game, and Ben DeLine's point-after-touchdown attempt pulled the team ahead.
Cortez scored again before the half-time buzzer.
The third quarter began with a Cortez interception, and Panthers sophomore C.J. Honaker pulled his team ahead 20-7 at the end of the third.
The rumbling cheers from the home bleachers didn't stop the Sailors going into the fourth. Bonner, who rushed for 189 yards in the game, made his way up the line.
"Our running game was working real well, but all the penalties killed the game," Bonner said. "We have got to work on our discipline and our passing game."
"If we all played like Brad, we could have won," Chris Baumann said. "We need to learn how to expect to win."
Steamboat had a total of 110 yards in penalties.
"When you have to score three touchdowns in a row it's a little frustrating," he said. "We are a better team than we played tonight, and we are a better staff than we coached tonight," Finch said.