Football team smiling after overtime win

Steamboat, 4-1, second in Western Slope

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Steamboat Springs' overtime win Friday against Moffat County is a blur to lineman Lane Shipley.

He remembers winning, and he remembers celebrating. He remembers riding home with his teammates on the bus, something most Sailors players never do.

"It was a good time," said Shipley, who added that he hasn't stopped smiling since Friday's 24-23 double overtime win.

But, as he thinks back to the game's final play -- Moffat County's failed 2-point conversion attempt -- he remembers knowing what the Bulldogs were going to do.

Moffat County coach Kip Hafey called a timeout before the play, so Steamboat knew the Bulldogs were going for 2 points. The Sailors also knew the ball would be in senior quarterback Derek Duran's hands.

The Bulldogs lined up, and Shipley said they were expecting Duran to roll out, which he did.

"We had some push, which forced him to roll farther than I think he wanted to," Shipley said.

Duran was stopped an inch short of the end zone, setting off a celebration that even Steamboat coach Aaron Finch joined.

"For me, personally, it was the funnest football game I've been a part of," he said. "It's fun to share the energy from the kids."

The win vaulted the Sailors into second place in the Western Slope League behind Palisade.

At this point last year, Steamboat had lost to Arvada, Palisade, Rifle and Moffat County. Now, the Sailors are 4-1. Their only loss was to Palisade on Sept. 9, but credit Steamboat's players and coaches. The 29-0 loss to the Bulldogs did nothing to their confidence or ability to win close games.

Friday's win was Steamboat's third come-from-behind effort, and it was on the road against its biggest rival and one of the better teams in the league.

"The kids showed so much grit on both teams," Finch said. "Hats off to Moffat. It's one of those games where neither team deserved to lose. It sounds like it was the most complete game they've played. They played well enough to win. Both teams did."

The most difficult portion of Steamboat's schedule may be over, but Shipley said this year's Steamboat team wouldn't overlook anyone, including Montezuma-Cortez, its next opponent.

In practice this week, Finch said, he and the coaching staff would address the players about avoiding a letdown one week after perhaps the program's biggest win since he took over as head coach last season.

Until Monday, however, the players will celebrate.

"The one thing they said is, 'That's a game you'll remember for the rest of your life,'" Shipley said.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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