Steamboat football to face tough game

Sailors hosts Glenwood Springs at 7 p.m. today

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— At least on paper, the Steamboat Springs High School football team begins its toughest stretch of Western Slope League games today with Glenwood Springs.

The two tea­ms play at 7 p.m. at Gardner Field.

“I think they’re probably the most complete team we’ve seen, not just in the league, but this year,” Steamboat coach Lonn Cle­mentson said. “They’re so sound fundamentally. I think they have a great scheme. Their scheme fits their players well.”

After Glenwood (5-1 overall, 3-0 in league), Steamboat travels Thursday to Palisade.

Steamboat (0-6, 0-3) is coming off a game against Rifle where the team opened up with an early 7-0 lead, thanks to a 94-yard drive to start the game. But Rifle responded with 26 second-quarter points to take a 26-7 win.

It was a microcosm of Steam­boat’s season, in which the Sailors have put together good drives, quarters and halves, but never an entire game.

“No matter what happens, positive or negative, we have to keep playing,” Clementson said. “It seems like we’ve had two or three games this year where we’ve come out and gotten stops and then we go out and score first. That’s fantastic, but the game isn’t over.”

The Sailors will have to play four quarters of some of their best football today if they hope to stay with the Demons.

It’s common territory for Glenwood, a team that won the state title in 2008 and advanced to the state quarterfinals last season. The Demons, who beat Palisade, 21-20, earlier this year thanks to 13 fourth-quarter points, profile as one of Class 3A’s elites.

The team is led by the play of senior dual-threat quarterback Luke Jacob, who has combined for 845 yards rushing and passing this year despite missing one game. The lone game he missed was a 6-0 loss to Montrose.

The Demons also have running back Drew Halsch (436 yards rushing, 102 receiving) and one of the best linebackers in the state in Nick Ciani (13 tackles a game).

Clementson said for Steam­boat to have a chance, the team must contain Jacob and try to find some consistency on offense.

“We’re getting one score and then struggling to get one after that,” he said. “Our goal is to get one score a quarter. That’s a lofty goal, but we’ve had letdowns when we’ve been up on people.”

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