Steamboat junior Mitch McCannon pulls down a pass during Wednesday's practice. The Sailors will play their final game of the season Friday.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat junior Mitch McCannon pulls down a pass during Wednesday's practice. The Sailors will play their final game of the season Friday.

Steamboat football hoping to round out season on high note

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— The Steamboat Springs High School football team ran through one of the season’s final practices Wednesday afternoon on a field blanketed by snow. It was thin enough that every step sunk through to show the turf, ensuring a green line of footprints followed every player, tracing each young man’s progress around the field.

The Sailors are hoping that, no matter the outcome of the 7 p.m. Friday season finale on the road against Delta, this season they’ll have something to show for it, like the tracks on Wednesday’s field.

That won’t include the team’s first playoff game since 2009. The best the team can finish is 5-5, which would leave it short of qualifying for the 16-team bracket. Still, coach Lonn Clementson was optimistic, looking ahead to Friday while looking back on the season.

Steamboat was 4-6 a year ago and, worst case scenario, could match that this year.

“We may end up with the same number of wins, but this year, we had two, two-game winning streaks. We had come-from-behind wins, we beat our natural rival (Moffat County), and we won our homecoming game,” he said. “There are definitely a lot of bright spots.”

Matching last year’s win total is a step for the program considering the turnover in athletes from that squad. Clementson pointed to the development of sophomore quarterback Zach Holm as one of those bright spots, and the growth of playmakers Mitch McCannon and Billy Clark, both juniors, as two more.

“We’ve really come a long way offensively, in terms of moving the sticks,” he said. “We just haven’t been able to get it into the end zone until late in the game.”

That factor, at least recently, has weighed heavy on the team. It’s past three games have been against the top tier of the Western Slope, and all three have been routs.

Delta shouldn’t prove much easier. With a 6-3 record, the squad has won three of its past four and is gunning to return to the playoffs, where it won one game a year ago. The Panthers also stuffed Steamboat 35-0 last year.

Clementson said he’s hoping his team will compete better in games against the area’s big dogs. He’s hoping for better off-season participation in the weight room and at summer camps, and he’s hoping that will all show up next year in the win column. He’s hoping that no matter what happens Friday against Delta, when Steamboat looks back on its footprints, it sees progress.

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

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