Monday, November 16, 2009
Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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What a week for Sailors football, but what tough times for the University of Colorado Buffs. Here are some notes from high school and college gridirons:
■ The Steamboat Springs High School football team plays Windsor at home this week in the second round of the Class 3A playoffs. The Sailors tentatively are scheduled to play the Wizards at 1 p.m. Saturday at Gardner Field.
■ A lot of things came out of Friday’s game against Berthoud. First, Berthoud’s a pretty darn good football team. They were a couple of plays away from entering the playoffs at 9-1, with a legit shot at a top-six seed. That said, Steamboat was able to find a way to win. The victory really didn’t include the offense, either. It’s a good sign when Steamboat doesn’t have its best offensive day and still can win with a fast defense and good special teams.
■ The opening round of the playoffs is always very telling. Seeds, at that point, are relative unknowns. The opening round really defines which league was the best and gives a clearer picture of which teams could make a run. After the opening round of the playoffs this year, the Western Slope went 3-1, the Tri Valley went 2-1, the Metro went 1-3 and the Southern went 2-3. The top seeds and home teams won every game, with the exception of No. 9 Delta beating No. 8 D’Evelyn, 14-6.
■ The state of college football in Colorado isn’t the best. The two teams most people think of are the University of Colorado and Colorado State University, but it’s the Air Force Academy that has had the most success the past five years. At CSU, the Rams are on their way. Steve Fairchild has proven he’s a good coach and should be given time to right the ship. Plus, the Mountain West Conference is no joke. As for Colorado, Dan Hawkins will be back whether people like it or not. There’s not enough money to get rid of him, with higher education cuts and the lack of support for the athletic program at the higher levels at the university. Does he deserve a fifth year? Probably not with the way the Buffs have been so up and down. But if he gets off to a bad start next season, he could be gone.
■ A tip of the cap to Troy Calhoun, of the Air Force Academy. He’s the best college coach in Colorado. When Fisher DeBerry left the program, it seemed like the team might take a step back. They haven’t, and that’s a credit to Calhoun. And it’s amazing what the service academies have been able to do lately. Ken Niumatalolo has Navy at 7-3, Army is on the upswing and former Navy coach Paul Johnson has Georgia Tech rolling. Shouldn’t be a surprise, though. Look at some former great coaches at service academies — such as Bill Parcells, Mike Krzyzewski and Bobby Knight.
■ Finally, to Steamboat’s playoff game this week against Windsor. Without knowing too much, expect another tough game for the Sailors — probably the toughest they’ve seen all year. Windsor played in a league with Berthoud, so you can expect Berthoud coach Dan McGinn to give Windsor the full scouting report.
— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org