Steamboat Springs’ Mitch McCannon attempts to get outside during Friday night’s homecoming game against Battle Mountain. After falling behind early, the Sailors rallied for the 27-16 victory.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs’ Mitch McCannon attempts to get outside during Friday night’s homecoming game against Battle Mountain. After falling behind early, the Sailors rallied for the 27-16 victory.

Steamboat football guts out ugly win for homecoming

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— Steamboat Springs High School football is all too familiar with losing streaks.

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Jasper Good and Lena Barker were crowned homecoming king and queen during Friday night's game at Gardner Field.

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Steamboat Springs running back Charles Toye was able to pull this pass in for a completion in the first half of Friday night's game against Battle Mountain.

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Battle Mountain's Rio Garton tips a pass away from Steamboat Springs Sailor Mitch McCannon in the first half of Friday night's game at Gardner Field in Steamboat Springs.

The Sailors lost 22 straight games dating back to the final contest of the 2009 season. That streak finally was snapped two games into last season.

Battle Mountain is going through one of those streaks, and for three full quarters Friday night, it looked like the Huskies might finally taste victory and spoil the Sailors’ homecoming in the process.

It took guts on the frigid night at Gardner Field. Huskies coach Steven Greve elected an onside kick to start the game, and it worked.

Seven minutes into the game, Battle Mountain had tripled its season touchdown total on two long screen passes from quarterback Demetruis Parrish to receiver Rio Garton. The 19-yard and 69-yard touchdowns put Steamboat in a 13-0 hole right from the start.

Sailors quarterback Zach Holm finally stopped the bleeding with 6:25 left to go in the first half on a 6-yard touchdown run, but the Huskies answered with a field goal to balloon the lead to 16-7.

“We were definitely a little shell shocked at first,” Sailors do-it-all receiver-running back Mitch McCannon said. “I think we were a little over cocky at first. They came out, scored and scored again, and we were like, ‘Wow, guess we need to start doing something.’”

It didn’t happen right away.

Steamboat opened the second half by fumbling deep inside Husky territory but finally got within one score with 2:59 left in the third quarter on a 5-yard Charles Toye touchdown run. Four minutes later, Holm scored his second touchdown of the game and effectively gave Steamboat its first lead, 20-16.

Then Sailors coach Lonn Clementson pulled a trick out of Greve’s bag and elected for an onside kick of his own. It, too, worked, and McCannon punched in a score four plays later.

Ball game, 27-16. Losing streak for Battle Mountain stands at 17.

“We came out thinking we were just going to steamroll them,” said McCannon, who had 19 carries for 85 yards. “They came out, and every team is going to play in this league. Every team is good. We just came out flat.”

Aside from Battle Mountain’s hot start, it was a sloppy game on both ends. Greve pointed to his team’s four turnovers and one lost onside kick as the deciding factor. Steamboat had issues of its own, giving up a blocked field goal, turning it over three times and coughing up that opening-play onside kick.

Steamboat improved to 4-2 and 3-2 in league play. But the meat of the Sailors’ 3A Western Slope schedule stands in front of them, as Clementson and company gear up to take on undefeated Palisade next, then second-place Rifle a week later.

“We still have a lot of work to do to get ready for next week,” Clementson said. “We want our players to enjoy the fact that they won their homecoming, but we can’t give up big plays early. We have to work together as a staff and as a team to start faster.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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