Wednesday, November 2, 2005
Steamboat Springs Dolores' resume speaks for itself.
The Bears won four of the past five San Juan League football titles, including this year's crown, and advanced to the Class A state semifinals last year. Dolores advanced to the quarterfinals in 2002 and 2003.
Hidden in Southwestern Colorado -- 20 miles from the Four Corners region -- the Bears have lured teams into their stadium for a first-round game three times and won all of them.
But 39-year veteran coach Don Story isn't foolish enough to presume the home-field advantage will be enough to defeat Hayden, the No. 3 seed from the Western Slope League.
"We've play--ed three first-round games here the last three years, and we think Hayden is the best team of the three we've faced," Story said.
"We know they've got a good quarterback, one of the best in the state. He doesn't throw many picks, so he's obviously our focal point. I was up there scouting basketball last year and saw Keenan (Bruchez) play basketball. It looks like he's just a great athlete."
Dolores enters the 1 p.m. game Saturday with an 8-1 overall record. The only loss was a 26-22 setback to Hotchkiss. Hayden is 7-2 overall, losing to Paonia and West Grand.
The Bears are one of the state's best rushing teams, led by Eric Hurst, who finished the regular season with 1,150 yards rushing, including 170 against playoff-bound Nucla.
"They are a running team," Tigers coach Shawn Baum--gartner said. "They have their one main back and have a couple other backs that they will run counters with."
In fact, Baumgartner said, Dolores runs a Wing-T offense that former Steamboat Springs coach Mark Drake used. Bob Harris, a former defensive coordinator with Drake, is an assistant with Baumgartner.
"I was like, 'Bob, how do you stop Drake?" Baumgartner joked. "It's the same type of offense. Obviously, they will do some different things."
Hayden is scheming based on two tapes the team received from Story. Story is doing the same. Statistics and newspaper stories are the only other information available.
"Once the playoffs start, you are really going to get that week to week," Baumgartner said. "From those two games, you base everything off that. We will have to make adjustments. They will, too."
The winner of Saturday's game will face the winner of the Byers and Paonia game Saturday in Paonia. Paonia narrowly defeated Hayden earlier this season in league play.
"I just want us to go down to Dolores and play well," Baumgartner said, thinking nothing of a possible second-round game.