Routt County prep sports weekend preview for Oct. 3

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Steamboat Springs football

7 p.m. Friday: Steamboat (3-2) vs. Battle Mountain (0-5)

It took a valiant second-half comeback for Steamboat Springs to improve to 3-2. The Sailors are hoping it won’t take such an effort Friday night to make it 4-2. Battle Mountain has struggled mightily this season, so much that it's been routed in every game it’s played. It’s scored just one touchdown in five games, a second-half score last week in a 55-7 loss to Rifle. The team has been outscored 265-13 this season.

But anything can happen, right? Battle Mountain has been particularly turnover prone this season, throwing 10 interceptions in the first four games. Steamboat would do well to help inflate that stat. Getting on the board in the first half will be key for the Sailors. The best way to avoid upsets is to knock the opponent out early. The longer the Huskies — playing with many underclassmen — hang around, the more they can buy into a surprising outcome. Steamboat doesn’t want any surprises Friday night.

Steamboat Springs tennis

Friday and Saturday: regional tournament in Grand Junction

It all comes down to this. Kind of, anyway. Regionals has been the goal at the end of the road all season for the Steamboat Springs tennis team, and now the Sailors have the chance to realize those goals.

The ultimate goal is winning the regional championship again. Steamboat had won 14 consecutive titles before Aspen beat Steamboat in four of six matches a year ago, snapping the streak and taking the title. The teams haven’t gone head-to-head this year because their one potential match was canceled. The top two finishers in each division also qualify for the state tournament. That’s a huge accomplishment, too, but one the Sailors likely won't worry themselves with until they’re finished fighting for the regional trophy.

Soroco volleyball

6:30 p.m. Thursday: Soroco (0-11) at Vail Mountain (3-4)

5 p.m. Friday: Soroco vs. North Park (3-7)

4 p.m. Saturday: Soroco at South Park (3-9)

The Rams struggles continued last week, and the team is looking for something positive to happen. This weekend presents several opportunities as none of the team’s three opponents have winning records. Vail Mountain beat the Rams in three sets to start the season, so win or not, that matchup should offer a good opportunity to gauge progress for the team. Friday and Saturday’s games against North Park and South Park, meanwhile, should offer the Rams chances to compete. Coach Jeannie Jo Logan said that her team has continued to play better each week and that each player is tasked with an individual goal each game. The squad is hoping that progress can show up on the scoreboard soon.

Hayden football

7 p.m. Friday: Hayden (2-3) at West Grand (2-1)

A year ago, this was the game for the district championship, a showdown between the area’s top two teams. The stakes aren’t quite the same this year, at least for the Tigers, who still are looking for their first district victory. The Mustangs have experienced, talented players across the field. Nick Ritschard has thrown for eight touchdowns at quarterback and run for seven more. Casey Gore, meanwhile, has averaged more than 80 yards receiving a game.

Hayden finished last week’s game against Rangely subbing in new faces all across the field in an effort to have enough healthy players to play. If the Tigers can get some of its top-tier talent back and generally healthy, Friday's game is a huge opportunity for the Tigers to get themselves back in the district standings action. They’ll be jonesing for revenge, too, after West Grand stunned Hayden last year.

Hayden volleyball

6 p.m. Friday: Hayden (8-3) vs. Plateau Valley (8-4)

Noon Saturday: Hayden vs. Paonia (11-0)

The Tigers are thrilled with the way they’ve been ripping through their schedule, but this weekend will say as much as any other set of games have about just how good this team is. Paonia is the best team on Hayden’s schedule, undefeated and rarely challenged this season. Plateau Valley, meanwhile, is pretty dang good itself, winning three in a row before falling in straight sets to Vail Christian last weekend.

At its best, Hayden is led by junior Jordan Temple and senior Olivia Zehner, a pair who have played together for so long each piece seems to know exactly what the other is thinking. They’re also getting plenty of help from their teammates. It will take all that and maybe a bit more to come through this weekend unscathed, but if the Tigers do, watch out.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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