Steamboat Springs These were the most eye-popping numbers for the Steamboat Springs High School football team.
Three-to-1, and 13-to-6.
The first numbers are the turnovers (three) and penalties (13) the more experienced Kent Denver team accrued in Friday's game. The second numbers are those from the inexperienced Steamboat team.
It's expected that a young team like Steamboat will struggle early on with turnovers and penalties. Heck, I was counting on it.
I should have known better.
A trademark of this coaching staff and the players has been discipline. Coach Aaron Finch is as detail-oriented and composed as any coach I've ever seen.
Friday showed that.
Kent Denver had three turnovers, including a game-changing fumble that Jay Hanley picked up and returned for a touchdown.
Steamboat's lone turnover was on a fumble by sophomore quarterback Austin Hinder on the first offensive possession of the game.
While the Sun Devils weren't able to overcome their turnovers, young Hinder and the Sailors were.
After the fumble, Hinder didn't respond like a sophomore making his first start against a top team in Class 2A - not to mention lining up behind a reworked Steamboat offensive line.
Instead, he looked more like Tanner Stillwell - the guy he replaced at the helm - and finished with a near perfect day, going 8-for-9 for 79 yards.
Then there are the penalties. Nothing stops drives or kills teams like a penalty.
Kent Denver can attest to that. A personal foul penalty in the first half took them out of scoring range.
Then in the second half, the Sun Devils started three straight drives with penalties, putting them in third-and-long situations.
Steamboat - despite a holding call that erased a touchdown run in the first half - limited its penalties. The team had four in the first half and just two in the second.
It's a credit to the coaching staff and the type of players in the program.
With such a young team, Finch said the halftime speech - the Sailors trailed 8-3 at the break - was the most calming one he's ever given.
It's a sign the coaching staff knows its players.
It's also a sign the turnover and penalty numbers from Friday's game weren't a fluke.
And while 3-to-1 and 13-to-6 were two of the sets of numbers that stood out, maybe the most important was 1-0.
That's the Sailors record as they head into Week 2 a better and more experienced team.
- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229
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