The Sailors line up on offense during Friday night's game against Eagle Valley at Gardner Field. The Sailors will travel to Palisade tonight to race the Bulldogs in a rare mid-week contest.

Photo by John F. Russell

The Sailors line up on offense during Friday night's game against Eagle Valley at Gardner Field. The Sailors will travel to Palisade tonight to race the Bulldogs in a rare mid-week contest.

Sailors set up for Stocker

Fourth-ranked Steamboat travels to No. 2 Palisade for high-stakes showdown

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Last year's game

Palisade 28, Steamboat Springs 10: Palisade took advantage of six Steamboat turnovers and 195 yards rushing from running back Zach Adair to pick up the win. Steamboat had closed within 14-10 with a little more than 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter, before Adair scored on one of his three touchdown runs.

Past Event

Steamboat football vs. Palisade

  • Thursday, September 25, 2008, 7 p.m.
  • Gardner Field, 45 East Maple St., Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / Free

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Season stats

Western Slope League standings

Glenwood Springs 5-0 overall, 3-0 in league

Palisade 5-0, 3-0

Steamboat Springs 4-0, 3-0

Rifle 1-3, 1-1

Delta 2-2, 1-2

Moffat County 1-3, 1-2

Montezuma-Cortez 2-2, 0-2

Battle Mountain 0-4, 0-2

Eagle Valley 0-5, 0-3

Steamboat Springs High School football season statistics

First Downs: Steamboat 54, Opponent 48

Rushes-Yards: Steamboat 129-912, Opponent 165-621

Comp-Att-Int: Steamboat 29-58-5, Opponent 14-57-1

Yards Passing: Steamboat 622, Opponent 197

Total Yards: Steamboat 1,534, Opponent 818

Punts-Avg.: Steamboat 3-38, Opponent 13-34

Fumbles-lost: Steamboat 8-3, Opponent 7-1

Penalties-Yards: Steamboat 33-260, Opponent 15-129

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Steamboat: 49-45-30-21-145

Opponent: 13-19-14-07-53

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

S: Hinder 34-302, 5 TD; Fraser Egan 37-175, 3 TD; Joe Dover 43-403, 5 TD; Charles Wood 5-26, 1 TD; Dustin Siegel 7-35; Cody Harris 1-8; Jasper Gantick 1-(-19).

Passing

S: Hinder 29-58-5, 622 yards, 3 TD.

Receiving

S: Wood 15-353, 3 TD; Cody Harris 5-122; Dover 5-107; Nelson Brassell 3-29; Gantick 1-11.

— Tonight's matchup between No. 2 Palisade and No. 4 Steamboat Springs carries a lot of weight in the Western Slope League and beyond, but don't expect the loser to have its postseason hopes deflated.

Along with Glenwood Springs, Steamboat and Palisade seemed poised to represent the WSL in the state playoffs. But potential seeding and the regular-season championship certainly could be at stake when the Bulldogs and Sailors square off at 7 p.m. at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.

"It's a good checkpoint for us," Steamboat coach Aaron Finch said. "It's less on the outcome and more on the journey for us. It's our challenge to play our best. We have to be patient on both sides of the football. We have to stand up in the face of a strong and physical team."

Finch said Palisade easily will be the best team Steamboat has faced this season. The Bulldogs are one of the most physical teams in the state and have the skill position players to compete against anyone.

The Bulldogs have five players with more than 100 yards rushing, including Travis Fehlman and Jesse Brennan, who each have more than 400. Last year's leading rusher, Zach Adair, has been out with a knee injury but is expected back.

The Bulldogs' defense has surrendered only 10 points a game this season in helping Palisade (5-0 overall, 3-0 in league play) to five wins.

"What Palisade brings is a little more athletic ability," Finch said. "They're maybe not as big as usual, but they're typical Palisade. They get after it and they play incredibly hard. Right now, I would say Palisade looks like one of the best teams out there."

Steamboat may not be far behind.

The Sailors (4-0, 3-0) have given up just more than 200 yards of offense per game and have started to show signs of an explosive offense.

Led by Joe Dover (403 yards rushing) and quarterback Austin Hinder (924 yards of total offense), the Sailors have looked better with each game.

Recent history suggests tonight's game could be decided in the fourth quarter.

Two years ago, Steamboat won on a last-second drive, and last year's game was 14-10 in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs tacked on two more touchdowns for a 28-10 win.

Finch said close games usually are decided by turnovers, field position and special teams play.

"In a close game, those are the factors that make the difference," Finch said. "I don't see the likelihood of a 30-point win against Palisade. I think we've got to continue to get better. It's one of those posts in the road. We want to make sure we're playing our best football at the end of the year."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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