Routt County prep sports weekend preview for Oct. 17

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Steamboat Springs football

7 p.m. Friday: Steamboat (4-3) vs. Rifle (5-2)

It’s not quite the mountain it seemed two weeks ago, but Friday’s game against Rifle still will be one of the preeminent challenges on the schedule for the Steamboat Springs High School football team. Coming off an absolutely dominating regular season and a spot in the state championship a year ago, Rifle was ranked. No. 1 this season until it dropped two games in a row heading into this weekend’s game. Now it faces the Sailors, who lost a week ago to another state powerhouse, Palisade, 56-0.

Rifle outgained its opponents in both of its previous games, but turnovers helped spoil everything, five in a 20-10 loss to Conifer and three in a 28-27 defeat against Palisade. If Steamboat is to extend the Bears’ losing streak one more game, plenty needs to go right. The Sailors will need to improve on their 103-yard rushing performance of last week and not yield nearly the 303 yards it gave up to Palisade. But if it can take advantage of a downtrodden Rifle squad — if the squad actually is downtrodden — to grab a few turnovers, that could be a huge boost to an upset-minded Sailors squad.

Steamboat Springs volleyball

6:30 p.m. Thursday: Steamboat (9-6) vs. Glenwood Springs (8-7)

6 p.m. Friday: Steamboat vs. Rifle (9-8)

What a strange ride it’s been for the Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team. The Sailors have bounced back strong from a three-game losing streak to win four in a row. To really capitalize on that run, however, the Sailors need to knock off Glenwood Springs in Steamboat. The Demons deflated one previous Steamboat high earlier this season, sweeping the Sailors in Glenwood. Now the teams will be playing to secure third place in the league, so it could be a crucial time for Steamboat to exact revenge if it can.

Steamboat Springs soccer

6 p.m. Thursday: Steamboat (8-5-1) at Summit (9-4-1)

There’s little room for error at this point in the season for the Steamboat Springs High School boys soccer team, not as the squad drives to be included in the postseason. The Sailors had Summit on the line the first time the team’s met a month ago but lost, 2-1, in double overtime. Each team has come a long way through a muddled conference since then. We’ll see just how far in Thursday’s matchup. Every win the Sailors can add bolsters their playoff resume, so even if the game can’t shake up the league standings, the outcome is very important for Steamboat.

Steamboat Springs cross-country

1 p.m. Thursday: at Delta

Steamboat Springs High School cross-country coach Greg Long has preached to his team all year long: the regional meet is when things count.

On Friday, Sailors boys and girls will tackle the Delta course against a mostly unfamiliar 4A Region 6 pack. Long said his runners have competed alongside regional teams very little this year.

In preparation for easily the biggest meet of the season, Long said, Monday was the final rigorous tuneup workout for his group, and the rest of the week is dedicated to resting legs for a 5K pace.

The Delta course also could turn in some of the Sailors’ best times of the season.

“We haven’t had one of those courses this year,” Long said. “The conditions are going to be perfect. It’s flat, hard, and it’s dirt. Technically, there’s some asphalt, but it’s a flat, fast course.”

Soroco volleyball

6 p.m. Friday: Soroco (2-13) vs. Hotchkiss (1-14)

3 p.m. Saturday: Soroco (2-13) at North Park (7-9)

The Rams had their two-game winning streak snapped with a three-game sweep at the hands of Meeker, but after such a struggle of a regular season, Soroco now has the chance to end on a huge high note. Friday’s homecoming opponent, Hotchkiss, has had a worse go of it even than the Rams, and Soroco would love to win the season’s third game in front of a big home crowd.

Saturday, then, gives Soroco another crack at North Park, which it defeated, 3-1, two weeks ago to snap what had been an 0-12 start to the season. The Rams spent most of the season looking like a team capable of turning a corner. This weekend will decide how real and lasting those steps forward were.

Hayden volleyball

5:30 p.m. Friday: Hayden (9-6) at Vail Mountain (6-7)

2 p.m. Saturday: Hayden at Vail Christian (12-5)

The Tigers’ lost some of their mojo last week, not so much in a 3-0 loss to Little Snake River but in a 3-2 loss at West Grand. They can recapture it and then some with opportunities against the Vails: Vail Mountain on Thursday and Vail Christian on Friday. Hayden already beat Vail Mountain on the road in a three-game sweep, and pulling off another big victory at home could help the team get back on track. Vail Christian, meanwhile, swept Hayden when they met earlier this season. The teams will go their separate ways in the postseason — Hayden to 2A and Vail Christian to 1A — but a win or a strong performance could be just the jolt the Tigers need in the season’s final act.

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

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