Thursday, September 29, 2005
The spread offense has made its way to Southwest Colorado.
Multiple receiver formations, empty backfields and a quarterback who works exclusively out of the shotgun are trademarks of the pass-oriented offense, and Montezuma-Cortez is executing it well, Steamboat Springs football coach Aaron Finch said.
"They want to throw the ball," he said. "As the season has gone on, they've gotten better and better. ... I'm surprised they haven't won more games."
Cortez is 1-3 overall and 1-1 in Western Slope League play. It defeated Battle Mountain and lost to Eagle Valley. Steam--boat is 4-1 overall and 2-1 in league play. Its lone loss was to Palisade.
Steamboat enters today's 7 p.m. game fresh off an emotional 24-23 double-overtime victory against rival Moffat County, but Finch said the team's focus in practice this week has remained on Cortez.
"The reality is this is another pretty good football team," he said. "If we don't come out and play hard and with the same intensity as we did last week, we will be in trouble."
Defensively, the Sailors will try to slow down the Panthers' passing game with a 3-5 scheme that's been successful against the run.
Against Moffat County, however, Steamboat's secondary and linebackers rose to the challenge and forced Bulldogs' quarterback Derek Duran into completing less than 50 percent of his passes.
The defense will have to be prepared tonight.
"One of the ways to defend the spread is to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback," Finch said. "I think we have a good scheme for them, but the thing is they are a good football team."
Cortez coach Tom Adair has helped turned the program around. Last year, the Panthers disposed of the Sailors, 34-7. Since then, Steamboat is 8-1.
"Coach Adair is a great guy," Finch said. "He does a great job motivating them and has them believing they can compete. They are coming up here believing they are still in the chase."
With unbeaten Palisade still having to face Rifle, Moffat County, Cortez and Eagle Valley, Steamboat still is in the hunt for the league championship, as well.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.com