Minturn It took seven plays for the Steamboat Springs football team to score four touchdowns -- in the first quarter -- as it defeated Battle Mountain, 45-0, on Friday.
After playing two straight overtime games, the Sailors appreciated the easy victory. It was the first lopsided win for Steamboat this season.
"This was a statement game for us," Sailors coach Aaron Finch said.
Steamboat's defense held Battle Mountain to just 49 yards in the first half and 126 yards in the game. The Huskies' only first downs of the first half came on their late second-quarter drive that ended with a missed field goal.
The Sailors (6-1 overall, 4-1 in league play) preserved the shutout in the second half.
"I think it was good for our defense to get the shutout," senior Walker Hammond said. "We felt like we could have had one earlier this season."
Steamboat converted three Battle Mountain fumbles into 21 points en route to amassing 214 yards and building a 38-0 lead by halftime.
The Sailors scored on their second play of the game on a 55-yard sprint from Hammond. Hammond ran the same sweep play the opposite direction to score Steamboat's second touchdown on the first play of its second possession. Sam Gary recovered the Battle Mountain fumble, setting Steamboat up inside Battle Mountain's 20-yard line.
On their third possession, the Sailors coaches called a play action pass. The Huskies' defense, including its secondary, bit on the fake handoff to Hammond, enabling receiver Jack Serhant to spring free. Tanner Stillwell connected with Serhant in stride for a 48-yard scoring strike four minutes into the first quarter.
"He was wide open," Stillwell said, acknowledging that quarterbacks never want to miss those types of passes. "We've been working on (the passing game) a lot. The timing is starting to come together."
Stillwell scored Steamboat's final first-quarter touchdown on a 24-yard scamper set up by his great ball fake that freed up the left side of the field.
"Our execution at the beginning of the game was perfect," Finch said.
Kicker Ben DeLine also was a perfect 6-for-6 on his point after attempts. He also converted a 33-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Hammond added his third touchdown of the game minutes later on a 1-yard run with 2:34 left in the first half. The senior, who missed the first two games while recovering from mononucleosis, has carried the Sailors' rushing load while sophomore Jay Hanley has been recovering from a hand injury.
Hammond had 121 yards on 15 carries Friday.
"I'm so happy for him after fighting through mono," Finch said. "He deserved a game like this."
Steamboat scored the game's final touchdown at the 6:41 mark in the third quarter. Thomas Allen's only carry of the game was good for 12 yards and a score, establishing a 45-point lead for the Sailors. Once a team builds a 45-point lead or more in Colorado high school football, the clock continues to run except for change of possession, so the second half was brief. Battle Mountain threatened to score late in the game but never found the end zone.
Up next for Steamboat is a highly anticipated game against Eagle Valley at 7 p.m. Friday at Gardner Field. It is Steamboat's homecoming game.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org