High school fall sports season begins Monday

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Season openers

Steamboat Springs High School

Football: vs. Moffat County, Aug. 29

Volleyball: at Glenwood Springs, Aug. 28

Boys soccer: at Palisade, Aug. 30

Boys tennis: at Montrose, Aug. 21

Cross-country: at Centennial, Aug. 29

Soroco High School

Football: at Sanford, Aug. 29

Volleyball: at Gilpin County, Aug. 29

Cross-country: at Grand Junction, Aug. 23

Hayden High School

Football: at Merino, Aug. 30

The Hayden volleyball schedule was unavailable.

— The Steamboat Springs High School football season won’t start Monday with a wind sprint. There won’t be any whistles, or even a trip to the field.

Instead, the 2014 campaign will start with a speech.

“We’re going to start by talking in the locker room, and we’ll start with what the team is all about,” Steamboat football coach Lonn Clementson said. “We’re going to talk about what we stand for, what we represent and we’re doing to discuss our mission statement.”

Monday marks the first day of practice for the vast majority of Colorado’s high school fall sports teams. Only the boys golf teams already are active, beginning with practices last week.

From Hayden to Oak Creek, from the football locker room to the soccer pitch, the running trail to the volleyball court, the onslaught will start locally for teams from Soroco, Hayden and Steamboat Springs high schools.

Games get underway for most teams later this month.

For Clementson and the football team, the season officially gets underway Aug. 29 as the squad is scheduled to welcome regional rival Moffat County High School to Steamboat.

Less than three weeks away, that kickoff was far from Clementson's mind Sunday as he and his assistant coaches worked at the high school preparing for Monday morning.

A pair of practices await the Sailors on Monday, at 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., but the players aren’t likely to actually strap up for any serious on-field work until Wednesday.

Plenty of work will fill those hours in between. There’s equipment to check out, forms to be signed and tests to be run.

And there will be plenty of talking.

“It’s hugely important,” Clementson said. “The players need to understand and get a genuine feel that we care.

“We feel strongly that if you do all the right things, that winning is a natural consequence, a byproduct of work ethic, character, how we treat each other, team chemistry.”

A tough season lies ahead for the Sailors. The team sat 4-2 more than halfway through the season last year but couldn’t finish competitively in a back-loaded schedule.

The Western Slope should be loaded again this year, featuring four teams that made last year’s Class 3A 16-team playoff.

Making progress against that schedule won’t be easy, and the Sailors enter the season hoping summer weightlifting sessions and an August conditioning camp can give them a good step toward making that improvement on the field.

The season won’t start on that field, however. It starts Monday, and it starts with a speech.

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

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