Sailors looking to go 2-0

Steamboat plays Laramie in today's home opener

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Aug. 31 Sailors football preview

Coach Aaron Finch talks about Friday's game.

Coach Aaron Finch talks about Friday's game.

2007 Sailors Football

* -- State playoff game.

— Football coaches often say the most improvement for a team comes between the first and second games of a season.

Considering how much the Steamboat Springs High School football team improved between just the first and second halves of its opening game against Kent Denver - if the old coaching adage holds true - the Sailors could be hard to beat today at 7 p.m., when the team has its home opener against Laramie, Wyo.

"The exciting thing is that we came out of last week, didn't play our best and we were still able to come away with a win," Steamboat head coach Aaron Finch said. "If we can pull it all together, we'll be fine."

He said the Sailors had their best practice of the season Tuesday.

Laramie, however, is a team Finch calls scary.

In terms of enrollment, Laramie would be a 4A football school in Colorado. The Plainsmen return seven starters on offense and six on defense from a team that struggled through most of last year after losing their starting quarterback in the first half of the game against the Sailors.

Still, Laramie returns several key players at skill positions, including running back and wide receiver Cody Suder.

Suder - a 5-foot-10-inch, 175-pound spitfire - returned a kickoff for a 97-yard touchdown in last year's game.

"Laramie's a scary game for us," Finch said. "When we played them last year, I viewed them as one of the better teams we played all year."

Laramie coach Neil Waring said the Plainsmen have a different style this year.

Gone are the 300-pound tackles that propelled the running game. Waring said the team isn't likely to start a player who weighs more than 225 pounds.

That doesn't mean Laramie won't be dangerous.

"We're not very big," Waring said. "All our big guys are gone, but you exchange one for the other. This year we'll be a little quicker and little more athletic."

The game will be Laramie's first of the season after three weeks of practice.

"This is a good opponent for us," Waring said. "We felt like Steamboat last year would have played well in our conference."

For Steamboat, Laramie marks the last non-conference game before the Sailors open up in the brutal Western Slope League next week.

Finch said getting a win is key today, with Steamboat welcoming No. 1 Palisade into town Sept. 7.

"In these early games, it's about execution," Finch said. "We kept some things out of our gameplan last week, but this week, we'll be able to open up the playbook a little bit."

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