Sailors dominate

Steamboat Springs delivers 31-6 drubbing to Glenwood Springs

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Steamboat Springs' Sean Forney breaks away from the Glenwood Springs defense during Friday night's game. The Sailors beat the Demons, 31-6.

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Steamboat Springs Houston Mader lines up on defense against the Glenwood Springs during a chilly game at Gardner Field on Friday night. The cold temperatures didn't seem to bother the Sailors who rolled over the Demons, 31-6.

— The Steamboat Springs football team just had a different vibe about them.

The game plan was the same. The players were the same. But there was just something different about the team.

"Just looking around it felt different," lineman Lane Shipley said. "We walked outside and saw the blue sky from the whole blizzard and during our warm-ups, they were fast and accurate and we kind of looked around at each other and said, I don't know what it is, but there is something clicking there."

The result: a 31-6 drubbing of the Glenwood Springs Demons.

" I thought we played pretty well last week, but this was beautiful," Sailors head coach Aaron Finch said. "I am so proud of the guys. They just responded to the challenge and played so well."

From the get-go, the Sailors (7-1, 5-1 in league play) showed why they're one of the premier teams in Class 3A. Running back Jay Hanley scored from 58 yards out on the third play of the game. After Glenwood (4-4, 3-3) failed to convert on fourth and three on its first drive, the Steamboat put together a 14-play, 71-yard drive that took up more than eight minutes of the clock. Hanley capped off the drive with his second touchdown of the game, this time from 18 yards out.

"They had a mission tonight," Demon head coach Rocky Whitworth said. "They needed to play well, they had most of their players back and they came out and did everything right."

After the Demons' first drive covered 63 yards, the quick strike offense only gained 17 yards of offense the rest of the half. Quarterback Dakota Stonehouse, who came into the game with more than 1,400 yards passing and 15 touchdown passes, completed only 2-of-12 passes for 20 yards in the first half.

"They were so much more physical than we were," Whitworth said. "Offensively, they just manned us up physically and took away and covered our receivers well and pressured well. It was all on them."

The Sailors dominance didn't stop in the first half.

After Stonehouse fumbled on the first play of the second half, the Sailors capitalized on a 39-yard field goal by Ben DeLine to go up 17-0. On Steamboat's next possession, quarterback Tanner Stillwell faked to Hanley and scooted around the right side for a 19-yard touchdown run.

"To run the ball the way we did is just a testament to what the (offensive line) has done starting with last June in camp," said Finch, whose Sailors rushed for 273 yards on 50 attempts. "All offseason - lifting weights - just getting ready and getting to this point (Friday), just shows that they really responded well to want we want to do."

Late in the fourth quarter, the Demons got on the board when Stonehouse hooked up with David King on a 51-yard touchdown pass to make it 24-6. Then, any hopes of a fourth quarter comeback were quashed when on the next Sailor possession, Stillwell dumped the ball off to Nigel Hammond, who ran in from 15 yards out to put the Sailors up for good, 31-6.

"Before the game, what we talked about is that we are a bigger, stronger team than them," Finch said. "That's are biggest asset in this game. I said, 'Lets go out and use it.' We were able to get more pressure on (Stonehouse) than any of the two games we watched on film."

Coming into the game, the teams were in position to be one of the four Western Slope teams to make the playoffs. The Sailors, depending on other games played Friday night, may have clinched a berth in the playoffs with the win. For the Demons, Friday's loss leaves them in a dogfight to get into the Class 3A playoffs.

"The goal all along is making the playoffs," Finch said. "We'll see how this all comes out, but I'd like to think that when we look at the scores (today), we'll figure out at worst case we're guaranteed the fourth seed."

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