Steamboat Springs High School senior Austin Hinder dives over the goal line to take the Sailors to a 14-7 lead during their Oct. 24 game against Moffat County. The Sailors are 8-0 overall and 7-0 in the Western Slope League, and the team hopes to keep the unbeaten streak alive in tonight's game against Buena  Vista.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School senior Austin Hinder dives over the goal line to take the Sailors to a 14-7 lead during their Oct. 24 game against Moffat County. The Sailors are 8-0 overall and 7-0 in the Western Slope League, and the team hopes to keep the unbeaten streak alive in tonight's game against Buena Vista.

Sailors hope to stay undefeated

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If you go

What: Steamboat football vs. Buena Vista

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Gardner Field

Senior celebration

The Steamboat Springs High School senior football players and cheerleaders will be recognized before today's game. The ceremony starts at 6:30 p.m. Seventeen football players and nine cheerleaders will be recognized.

2009 Steamboat football statistics

Steamboat Opponent

106 First Downs 110

196-1,433 Rushes-Yards 289-1,153

105-171-3 Comp-Att-Int 73-154-14

1,326 Yards Passing 950

2,630 Total Yards 2,103

16-30 Punts-Avg. 29-32

15-5 Fumbles-lost 14-7

60-498 Penalties-Yards 70-605

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Opponent 21-20-21-61-122

Steamboat 78-136-51-68-333

- Rushing

Connor Landusky 18-57; Austin Hinder 86-509, 7 TD; Dylan Pivarnik 9-38; Jake Miller 1-(-1); Joe Dover 74-832, 16 TD; Michael Savory 4-11; Evan Hornstein 3-31, 1 TD; Tyler Samlowski 5-18, 1 TD; Jack Verploeg 3-7.

- Passing

Hinder 99-158-2, 1,252 yards, 16 TD; Miller 1-2-1, 8 yards; Savory 3-10-0, 8 yards; Dover 2-2-0, 49 yards, 1 TD.

- Receiving

Verploeg 16-116, 1 TD; Jack Spady 37-621, 9 TD; Cody Harris 10-66, 1 TD; Pivarnik 13-166, 4 TD; Bryce Mayo 2-19; Landusky 2-17; Dover 23-289, 2 TD; Sam Robards 1-8; Jackson Coe 1-6.

— As storied a coaching career as Bob Marken has had, the Buena Vista High School football coach knows what his team faces.

Class 2A Buena Vista isn't just playing up a classification against Steamboat Springs at 7 p.m. today at Gardner Field. The Demons might be playing the best team in Class 3A.

That, and the fact that Buena Vista is having an uncharacteristically down year at just 2-6 overall, and Marken said his team is up against it today.

"They're a really talented football team," Marken said. "It's amazing to me watching on film. They are so athletic at every position. They're a fun team to watch on film."

Steamboat has been fun to watch, but not to play this season. The Sailors (8-0 overall, 7-0 in the Western Slope League) have looked every bit the part of one of 3A's elite teams.

The Sailors have outscored teams, 333-122, including 214-41 in the first half. Add in an ever-improving defense that is plus-13 in turnovers, and right now, it's tough to find a weakness in Steamboat's game.

But the out-of-league game has little bearing on either team. Buena Vista isn't going to make the playoffs, and Steamboat has clinched its berth.

To find some relevance, the Sailors need a win for playoff seeding - something that could prove the difference in getting an easier road in the playoffs. Although a loss wouldn't deter the Steamboat season, coach Aaron Finch said at this point the philosophy - as has been each week - is to get better.

"Buena Vista is always a well-coached team," Finch said. "Given our experience of the entire season with this group of athletes, they've never taken anyone lightly and are always ready to play."

The Demons run a spread option attack, led by running back Dakota Johnson's 806 yards rushing. Marken said he has a young team with only seven seniors. The injury bug also has visited Buena Vista too much this season.

Marken said the key for the Demons would be to not let the Sailors get off to a fast start. If Buena Vista can stretch the game and keep it close, it will compound the pressure Steamboat feels.

"We have to keep Steamboat from getting off to a fast start. We have to prevent that from happening," Marken said. "Then the pressure kind of goes to them. If we're fortunate enough to hang around, there really is no pressure on us at all. Everyone expects Steamboat to beat us like they've been beating everybody else."

For Steamboat, it's continuing to toe the company line. The outlook and formula for winning hasn't changed this season.

If an aggressive Steamboat defense can force long third-down situations and get the Buena Vista offense off the field, it just gives more opportunities to a potent offense no team has been able to stop this season.

"With this group, there is never any panic if things aren't going well," Finch said. "When we do get up, it's scary how we can get it going. There's a moment in all these where we get on a roll, and you look up and the game is well in hand."

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