Steamboat Springs' Joe Dover makes a catch Thursday against Palisade. The Sailors lost, 39-14. Steamboat looks to regroup Friday against Rifle.

Buddy Bair/Courtesy

Steamboat Springs' Joe Dover makes a catch Thursday against Palisade. The Sailors lost, 39-14. Steamboat looks to regroup Friday against Rifle.

Finch rallies team

Sailors focus on positives after loss

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Season statistics

Steamboat Opponent

61 First Downs 63

154-976 Rushes-Yards 220-965

42-81-5 Comp-Att-Int 18-64-1

703 Yards Passing 271

1,679 Total Yards 1,236

10-37 Punts-Avg. 16-34

12-4 Fumbles-lost 11-2

41-315 Penalties-Yards 26-202

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Steamboat 49-45-37-28-159

Opponent 29-28-21-14-92

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

S: Hinder 46-282, 5 TD; Fraser Egan 42-241, 4 TD; Joe Dover 49-413, 5 TD; Charles Wood 5-26, 1 TD; Dustin Siegel 9-44; Cody Harris 1-8; Jasper Gantick 1-(-19).

Passing

S: Hinder 42-81-5, 703 yards, 4 TD.

Receiving

S: Alex Wood 17-361, 4 TD; Cody Harris 6-146; Dover 12-140; Nelson Brassell 3-29; Gantick 1-11; Charles Wood 1-3; Jack Spady 1-3.

— If you look at trends and the past four years of Steamboat Springs High School football, there is always one loss early in the season that pops up.

Four years ago, it was Palisade. Three years ago, it was Eagle Valley, and last year, it was Laramie, Wyo., and Palisade again.

Each of those Steamboat teams bounced back and made the playoffs.

While it's too early to say Steamboat will bounce back from Thursday's 39-14 loss to Palisade, Sailors coach Aaron Finch said the loss presents a lot of opportunities to get better.

"Every team is its own team," Finch said Friday. "I'm not going to put those expectations on this bunch. It's up to us collectively as a coaching staff and players on how we're going to respond. I know how I want us to."

With the season at the midway point, Steamboat's still in a position to make the playoffs. The Sailors are holding down one of the three guaranteed spots in the Western Slope League.

But after Thursday's performance - albeit against a Palisade team that made every case to be deemed the best in Class 3A - there certainly is work to be done.

"No doubt we have to get tougher on both sides of the ball," Steamboat senior Alex Wood said. "Palisade is the toughest team in the league. If we want to be as good as we can, we have to be tougher than (Thursday). I would have liked to win. But if we had to lose, it shows us what we had to improve on. If we want to be there, we know what we have to do against like a team like that."

Improving started Friday with a light walkthrough and film session. The players took the weekend off and resume practice Monday in preparation for Friday's game against Rifle.

"The good thing about games like this is sometimes when you have a lot more talent than your opposition, your weaknesses don't get exposed," Finch said. "When you play a team like Palisade, who is complete in every way, they expose your weaknesses. You learn a lot about your scheme, your personnel and how hard you've worked."

Although the Sailors are holding one of those three playoff spots, Thursday's loss puts pressure on every league game from here on out. One slip and Steamboat could find itself on the outside looking in.

"There's no question we need to get better," Finch said. "I don't care what God gave you in talent, it's what you do with it. I don't care how good of a football team we are, it's what we do with the talent. It's how hard we play and how hard we work together. Those are the things that are important to me.

"That's what it has to be about. I'm not happy," he continued. "I'm not going to silver-line it or sugarcoat it. We got beat and beat in every way possible. You don't feel like you're good after that. : Now we have to focus on one game and one win, and that's Rifle."

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