Friday, September 17, 2004
Though they weren't interested in tickets, the Steamboat football team members got front row seats to the Rocky Rauman running show Friday night.
Behind an offensive line that consistently gave him gaping holes, Rauman racked up 251 yards rushing on 34 carries. He also scored all five touchdowns in the Bears' 35-7 Homecoming win against the Sailors.
Rauman said Steamboat Springs punted into his team during warm-ups and that fired up the Rifle players. Although the Bears certainly played with much more intensity than the Sailors during the first half, the ease with which Rifle was able to run on Steamboat had just as much to do with its veteran offensive line and some uninspired play from the Sailors as it did with a taunting punt.
"This one was all on me," Steamboat coach Aaron Finch said. "My job is to get the team ready to play. We weren't ready to play."
Had the Sailors been ready to play, the game likely would have been closer, but it's uncertain as to whether Steamboat would have won. The Bears, behind a roster loaded with upperclassmen, played like a team out to win a league championship.
After dominating Steamboat (0-3 overall) for nearly three quarters, Rifle (3-0) is probably the best team Steamboat has faced. Steamboat plays another talented league foe in Moffat County next Friday at Gardner Field.
"I thought our kids executed real well," Bears coach Darrel Gorham said. "We didn't fumble. Anytime you don't have those, you see these long drives. Our kids were pretty physical, and I was pleased with that. It's not where we are now. It's where we are at in the end."
About 24 minutes into the game, Rifle found itself up 28-0, as its offense racked up 251 total yards while the defense held Steamboat to minus-2 yards of total offense.
The Bears opened the game with a 6 minute, 46 second scoring drive that set the tone for the game.
Senior Brad Bonner returned the subsequent Rifle kickoff 35 yards to Steamboat's 48-yard line, giving the Sailors good field position, but for the third straight game, the Sailors turned the ball over on their first possession.
Rifle recovered the fumble and put together another scoring drive that lasted more than six minutes, giving it a 14-0 at the outset of the second quarter.
Steamboat had no success moving the ball against Rifle's defense, and the Bears -- and Rauman -- added their third touchdown of the game at the 10:08 mark in the second quarter off Rauman's 56-yard run.
The Sailors had the ball for just 4:26 of a total 24 minutes during the first half.
"They are a solid team," Finch said. "They did not make a mistake."
During his halftime speech, Finch told the players to go out and have fun, and Steamboat came out with an increased intensity in the second half. An injury to senior quarterback Tyler Fosdick thrust Tanner Stillwell into the game for the final 24 minutes, but Stillwell looked more like a veteran than a sophomore.
Stillwell was 8-of-13 for 108 yards and one touchdown pass. He orchestrated the Sailors' only scoring drive of the game in the closing minutes of the third quarter and the outset of the fourth. In one of Steamboat's best drives of the season, the Sailors showed off their passing game, as Stillwell threw to four different receivers. Steamboat scored at the 11:55 mark of the fourth quarter off an 8-yard pass from Stillwell to senior Daniel Coloccia.
Freshman Ben DeLine, in to replace Fosdick, kicked the extra point through the uprights.
"We weren't ready to play in the first half," Stillwell said. "The line stepped up in the second and gave me time."
Finch said he will watch the game film, but he isn't going to make the team sit and watch it Monday. There's no point. For the Sailors, attention immediately shifts to Friday and rival Moffat County.
The Bulldogs have rolled through their first three opponents and travel to Steamboat for a 7 p.m. game. Moffat will be seeking to avenge last year's loss in Craig.
-To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.com