Steamboat football squeaks by in Delta

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SCORING SUMMARY

First Quarter

S 3:04, safety.

S 0:00, Austin Hinder 15 run. (Pete Schuette kick).

Second Quarter

S 7:46, Joe Dover 2 run. (Jack Spady pass).

D 6:39, Austin Watson 59 run. (Ethan Kraai kick).

D 2:30, Kraai 20 pass from Watson. (Kick fail).

Third Quarter

S 4:32, Spady 40 pass from Hinder. (Kick fail).

S 1:27, Dover 3 run. (Kick fail).

Fourth Quarter

D 9:30, Phillip Decker 18 pass from Watson. (Pass fail).

S 3:09, Dover 1 run. (Schuette kick).

D 1:08, David Whiteside 13 pass from Watson. (Watson run).

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

S: Dover 15-65, 3 TD; Hinder 13-21, 1 TD; Connor Landusky 2-0.

D: Michael Patton 9-78; Robert Simpson 4-1; Watson 9-88, 1 TD; Ethan Kraai 1-(-1); Chad Cromwell 1-5.

Passing

S: Hinder 15-24-1, 153 yards, 1 TD.

D: Watson 15-24-0, 214 yards, 3 TD.

Receiving

S: Spady 4-67, 1 TD; Dover 3-38; Landusky 1-5; Dylan Pivarnik 5-32; Cody Harris 1-4; Bryce mayo 1-7.

D: Decker 6-66, 1 TD; Kraai 2-36, 1 TD; Cromwell 3-60; Nolan Britain 3-39; Whiteside 1-13, 1 TD.

The Delta High School football team had read the press clippings and seen the preseason polls.

Whether Steamboat had bought into its own preseason hype is up for debate.

Regardless, the Sailors walked off the field Friday night in Delta, thankful to be heading home and lucky to get away with a 36-27 win.

"I hate high school polls because they're done by people who haven't even seen us play," said Steamboat coach Aaron Finch, whose team was No. 3 in Class 3A by The Denver Post and tops by www.coloradopreps.com. "I wouldn't even put us in the top 10 right now. We have so many challenges. We're not the No. 1 team in the state. Do I think we can get better and be there? Absolutely."

In a game during which the Panthers outgained the Sailors, 385 yards to 239, it came down to several halftime adjustments by Steamboat and one too many miscues by Delta.

In the first half, the Panthers had a 3-and-out, a safety, a fumble and a bad snap inside their own 10-yard line to help propel Steamboat to a 17-0 lead.

Add in 137 yards in penalties and Delta had its opportunities.

"I'm not that happy," Steamboat linebacker Mitch Lekarczyk said. "I thought we played like (crap). Our problem was we weren't playing as all 11 players. When one player would take a play off, they would score."

Delta cut the Steamboat lead to 17-13 at halftime thanks to a 59-yard touchdown run and 31-yard touchdown pass by senior quarterback Austin Watson.

Out of halftime, however, Steamboat's adjustments seemed to work.

Sailors quarterback Austin Hinder found Jack Spady from 40 yards out midway through the third quarter to put Steamboat up, 23-13. After two penalties thwarted Delta's ensuing drive, Steamboat used two plays to go 24 yards, capped off by a Joe Dover 3-yard run to make the score 29-13.

"We got a little ahead of ourselves and relaxed too quick," Finch said. "This is how we need to win these games throughout the season. I think we came out and didn't execute like we could, but did some good things in the second half."

Watson hit his second touchdown of the game on the next Delta possession to cut the lead to 29-19 with 9 minutes, 50 seconds left in the game.

But that's when Steamboat had its biggest drive of the young season. The Sailors took 17 plays and 6:41 off the clock on their next drive, including two fourth-down conversions. Dover capped off the drive - this time from a yard out - for his third score of the game and a 36-19 lead.

Watson threw another touchdown with 1:08 left to put the score to 36-27.

Dover, returning after missing the first game with a hamstring injury, had 103 yards of total offense to go along with several impressive returns, setting Steamboat up in good field position.

"Even though we didn't play our potential best, we still won," Lekarczyk said. "Obviously then there is a lot of potential with this team."

Steamboat next plays at 7 p.m. Friday at home against Montezuma-Cortez.

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