Steamboat football slides back in home loss | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat football slides back in home loss

Steamboat senior Canon Reece tries to pull away from a pair of Conifer tacklers Friday night.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It wasn't the opponent, the opportunity or the outcome.

The Steamboat Springs High School football lost at home Friday night to Conifer, 40-7, and on the surface, it didn't look that much different than the other three games the Sailors have played en route their current 0-4 record.

The Lobos rushed the ball and played tough defense. Steamboat struggled to move the ball and turned it over four times.

This one, however, felt different, coach Shawn Baumgartner said.

Those previous games may not have shown much on the scoreboard, but he saw progress, the steps the Sailors need to take to turn around a struggling program. Players were learning to stick to their assignments. Defenders were starting to wrap up on tackles, and offensive players were improving on holding their blocks.

Friday, however, may have been a step back.

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"This was a tough one to swallow," Baumgartner said. "The other games, as we were going through, we could still see those improvements, but we weren't making the plays we needed to make tonight as consistently as we have been."

The Lobos, entering the game winless, established themselves early, getting a rushing touchdown from senior Kasim Rana, then, on a 66-yard pass from quarterback JR Hart, another from tight end Andrew Wood.

Conifer scored again on a 1-yard run from Rana, then made it 27-0 to finish the first half after converting a Steamboat fumble in for another score.

The Sailors, meanwhile, struggled to get momentum rolling on offense.

They dug deep into the bag of ideas, swapping  junior quarterback Drew Bowers for senior running back Canon Reece in under center, looking for a way to generate any kind of spark.

Reece had some success running around the outside and completed a first-half pass that was the team's only first down going into the fourth quarter.

The team's touchdown came in the fourth quarter, after Theo Hansen returned a Conifer fumble 30 yards to the Lobos' 15-yard line. Reece ran it in four plays later from the one-yard line.

"When we were able to seal the edge and get their backers stuffed, we were able to get around the outside," Reece said. "Tonight, they just out-hit us. If we came out firing and hit them in the mouth, I think we have a huge chance of winning. We just let them set the tone."

Steamboat's now set to enter a different portion of its schedule, playing its first game in the Western Slope League Sept. 30 at home against Basalt.

It's a different part of the schedule, but won't likely be an easier one. Steamboat will enter the way it did Friday, looking to take some steps.

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

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