Steamboat Springs High School quarterback Austin Hinder picks up senior Joe Dover after Saturday’s playoff victory against Windsor.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School quarterback Austin Hinder picks up senior Joe Dover after Saturday’s playoff victory against Windsor.

Sailors advance to semis with 31-7 win

Steamboat to play Pueblo Central next weekend

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Steamboat vs. Windsor highlights

Highlight's from Saturday's playoff game against Windsor.

Highlight's from Saturday's playoff game against Windsor.

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Austin Hinder

Steamboat Springs High School quarterback Austin Hinder talks about Saturday's playoff game victory over Windsor.

Steamboat Springs High School quarterback Austin Hinder talks about Saturday's playoff game victory over Windsor.

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Aaron Finch

Steamboat Springs High School head football coach Aaron Finch talks about Saturday's victory over Windsor.

Steamboat Springs High School head football coach Aaron Finch talks about Saturday's victory over Windsor.

Key questions

1. Can Windsor run the ball effectively against Steamboat?

No. Steamboat’s defense was tough all day, limiting Windsor to 139 yards on 29 carries. Take out Conner Glenn’s 80-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter, and the Steamboat defense gave up 2.1 yards a carry.

2. Will Steamboat’s special teams continue to shine?

There were no huge gains in the kick return game, but Steamboat recovered a fumble on a punt and a kickoff to help set up scores. Kicker Peter Schuette, who also recovered the muffed punt, hit another field goal.

3. Will Steamboat continue to win the turnover battle?

Probably the biggest difference in the game. Steamboat didn’t turn the ball over, and Windsor had four blunders. Steamboat turned two of those turnovers into 14 points.

Game statstics

First Downs:9 (Windsor), 15 (Steamboat Springs)

Rushes-Yards:29-139 (Windsor), 38-170 (Steamboat Springs)

Comp-Att-Int:3-16-2 (Windsor), 13-25-0 (Steamboat Springs)

Yards Passing:33 (Windsor), 122 (Steamboat Springs)

Total Yards:172 (Windsor), 292 (Steamboat Springs)

Punts-Avg:2-27 (Windsor), 1-39 (Steamboat Springs)

Fumbles-lost:4-2 (Windsor), 2-0 (Steamboat Springs)

Penalties-Yards:6-55 (Windsor), 1-15 (Steamboat Springs)

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Windsor: 07-00-00-00 — 7

Steamboat: 00-17-07-07 — 31

SCORING SUMMARY

■ First Quarter

W: 1:22, Conner Glenn 80 run. (Terran Hause kick.)

■ Second Quarter

SS: 10:42, Dylan Pivarnik 8 pass from Austin Hinder. (Peter Schuette kick.)

SS: 8:12, Jack Spady 18 pass from Hinder. (Schuette kick.)

SS: 02, Schuette 21-yard field goal.

■ Third Quarter

SS: 2:31, Hinder 11 run. (Schuette kick.)

■ Fourth Quarter

SS: 5:20, Dover 14 run. (Schuette kick.)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

W: Glenn 14-110, 1 TD; Aaron Schmidt 7-23; Trevor Okamoto 7-24; Banning Lobmeyer 1-(-8)

SS: Dover 19-151, 1 TD; Hinder 15-14, 1 TD; Bryce Mayo 2-3; Pivarnik 1-1; Connor Landusky 1-1

Passing

W: Okamoto 3-16-2, 33 yards

SS: Hinder 13-25-0, 122 yards, 2 TD

Receiving

W: Tanner Walker 1-9; Chris Prenger 1-15; Garrett Weyhrich 1-9

SS: Jack Spady 2-37, 1 TD; Dover 5-31; Jack Verploeg 1-5; Pivarnik 2-13, 1 TD; Cody Harris 3-36

— As the 2009 Steamboat Springs High School football campaign has worn on, classifying the team’s defense always has been a chore.

They started as the biggest question mark, turned into a bright spot and morphed into an opportunistic bunch before simply becoming dominant in Saturday’s 31-7 win against Windsor in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state playoffs.

There really isn’t another way to describe what happened Saturday at Gardner Field.

Fourth-seeded Steamboat tossed away early opportunities on offense and fell behind before the defense — a once no-name group — came up big each time.

The Sailors limited Windsor to 172 yards of offense and two of 10 on third downs, created four turnovers and constantly put the Steamboat offense in a position to win. In the first half alone, Steamboat ran 41 plays to Windsor’s 13. In the game, Steamboat’s average starting field position was the Windsor 45-yard line, while the Wizards started at their own 25-yard line.

“This isn’t just a one-dimensional team,” Windsor quarterback Trevor Okamoto said. “Coming into this game, all you heard was about Steamboat’s offense. Man, their defense is just as tough as their offense is.”

And given enough opportunities, the Steamboat offense is bound to take advantage.

Sailors quarterback Austin Hinder had a ho-hum day, tossing two touchdown passes, running for another and finding five receivers. Joe Dover picked up a touchdown run and had 151 yards on 19 carries.

But again, it was the defense, a heralded group of no stars but 11 guys playing together.

“We’re excited about how they’re playing,” Steamboat defensive coordinator Lonn Clementson said. “They got each other’s back.”

The Sailors offense opened the game by turning the ball over on downs twice inside the Wizards’ 13-yard line.

Windsor finally piggybacked some of that momentum late in the first quarter. Conner Glenn broke open around the left side and galloped 80 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

Steamboat finally put together a drive on its next possession, going 67 yards in eight plays before Hinder found Dylan Pivarnik from eight yards out.

Windsor fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but Steamboat again stalled on downs inside the red zone.

But on the next play, Jack Spady picked off Okamoto, and on the Sailors’ second play of the next drive, Hinder found Spady from 18 yards out for a 14-7 Steamboat lead.

Steamboat tacked on a 21-yard field goal by Peter Schuette near the end of the half to go up 17-7.

“They brought three guys every play, and we just didn’t do a great job of hitting up in the hole,” Windsor coach Chris Jones said. “That was the key to that.”

The teams traded unsuccessful drives early in the third quarter before Windsor muffed a punt at its own 11-yard line, setting Steamboat up.

Hinder trotted into the end zone on the next play, giving Steamboat a 24-7 lead.

After the Wizards turned the ball over on downs, the Sailors put together a game-defining drive.

Steamboat took nine plays and 4:47 off the clock before Dover ran in from 14 yards out to put the game away.

“Every week, we hear we’re undersized by 20, 30 or even 40 pounds,” said Steamboat senior Darian Buelter, a cog on the Sailors defensive line. “We really don’t take that into account. We know we’re fast, and we think we can beat them off the ball.”

Steamboat now prepares for the semifinals of the playoffs, a place the team hasn’t been since 2005.

There, Steamboat will see No. 1-seed Pueblo Central, who easily dispatched of Delta on Saturday, 34-7.

A day and time haven’t been set, but the game will most likely be Nov. 28. It will take place at Pueblo Central High School.

Although there were some quips about the seeding, the top four seeds in Class 3A advanced Saturday. On the other side of the bracket, No. 3 Mountain View beat No. 6 Falcon, 39-6, and No. 2 Valor Christian beat No. 7 Glenwood Springs, 51-28.

The remaining four teams have a combined record of 44-0.

As for Pueblo Central, Steamboat coach Aaron Finch said he didn’t know a lot about the team.

But Finch undoubtedly will talk to Palisade and Delta — the two teams Pueblo Central beat in the first two rounds of the playoffs.

“All I know is they’re a big, physical, rough and tough football team,” he said.

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