Long trip ahead for Sailors football

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If you go

What: Steamboat at Montezuma-Cortez football

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Montezuma-Cortez High School

Radio: 1230 AM or online at www.kbcr.com

Western Slope League standings

Glenwood Springs 3-0 overall, 1-0 in league

Palisade 3-0, 1-0

Steamboat Springs 2-0, 1-0

Montezuma-Cortez 2-0, 0-0

Rifle 1-1, 1-0

Delta 1-1, 0-1

Battle Mountain 0-2, 0-1

Moffat County 0-2, 0-1

Eagle Valley 0-3, 0-1

Season statistics

Steamboat, Opponent

First Downs: 23, 23

Rushes-Yards: 62-443, 87-232

Comp-Att-Int: 9-26-4, 8-29-1

Yards Passing: 239, 106

Total Yards: 682, 338

Punts-Avg.: 3-38, 8-36

Fumbles-lost: 4-1, 5-1

Penalties-Yards: 15-145, 6-55

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Steamboat 28-07-09-06 - 50

Opponent 00-13-06-00 - 19

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing:

S: Hinder 15-123, 2 TD; Fraser Egan 21-89, 1 TD; Joe Dover 21-206, 2 TD; Charles Wood 2-14; Dustin Siegel 3-11.

Passing:

S: Hinder 9-24-4, 239 yards, 2 TD.

Receiving:

S: Wood 6-184, 2 TD; Cody Harris 2-33; Dover 1-22.

Last year's game

Steamboat 46, Montezuma-Cortez 7

Austin Hinder threw four touchdowns, Jay Hanley scored twice on the ground, and Steamboat turned six Montezuma-Cortez turnovers into 28 points. The Sailors scored on every offensive possession of the first half and didn't punt until 8:31 remained in the fourth quarter.

— A road trip to play Western Slope League opponent Montezuma-Cortez always presents concerns for the Steamboat Springs High School football team.

Add in a new coaching staff at Montezuma-Cortez and the team's 2-0 record, and it's clear the Sailors will have their hands full when they line up for a 7 p.m. game today.

"When you know a team is running things for the first time, you know they're going to get better from week to week," Sailors coach Aaron Finch said about Montezuma-Cortez's new systems. "That's a scary thing."

The other concern is, of course, the trip itself. A 400-mile trip presents a challenge to any team.

Steamboat (2-0 overall, 1-0 in league play) left at noon Thursday for Grand Junction, where the team went through a light practice at Mesa State College. Finch said the road trip usually is a double-edged sword. It's tough to know how players will perform after eight-plus hours in a bus, but it's nice to have the long road trip to build team chemistry, Finch said.

"The key is, we get our head in the right place," Finch said. "Go be football players, especially on defense. We've shown it the first two games. We've been happy with how the defense has been playing."

Montezuma-Cortez (2-0 overall, 0-0 in league play) runs a newer offense called the spinner series. The offense essentially is a single-wing look out of the shotgun formation. The quarterback sometimes will spin 360 degrees to fake handoffs.

"It's not something we've seen," Finch said. "It's a lot of misdirection and motion. They'll hand it off to one of three different backs. It's our job to try to figure out who ends up with it."

In addition to the offense, the Panthers feature one of the biggest offensive lines in the league. The team also has won two straight games for the first time in more than two years.

"Really we're just trying to focus on executing the things we have in place," Panthers first-year coach Chuck Cotter said. "We're trying to limit our mistakes. Our goal is to play mistake-free. I mean, they're a good team. That's why they're sitting where they're at."

Finch said the main focus during the week has been to continue the development and timing of the offense.

The Steamboat offense made strides last week in the second half against Delta, and Finch said he expects the group to keep improving this week.

"It's just consistency and playing with speed," Finch said. "A lot of it is timing. It's a big part of our passing game, and we've been a little out of sync.

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