Sailors prepare for No. 1 | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors prepare for No. 1

Steamboat to face Glenwood Springs today at Gardner Field

Steamboat Springs defensive coordinator Lonn Clementson runs down the Glenwood Springs offense during practice earlier this week. The key for the Sailors will be to shut down Glenwood Springs' top-rated quarterback, Dakota Stonehouse, when the two teams meet tonight at Gardner Field.

— Steamboat Springs senior Alex Wood said he plans no changes to his game day routine. Sailors football coach Aaron Finch said he’d honestly rather win next week.

“That will be the most important game of the year – the first round of the playoffs,” he said, already plotting a long run for his team.

But neither Finch nor Wood could defuse the electricity that bubbled up from Steamboat Springs High School’s Gardner Field on Thursday night. The Sailors took to practicing under the lights Thursday, but none would deny their minds were firmly set on tonight’s matchup against Glenwood Springs, a game to be lit by far more than the good old Friday night lights.

“I’ve been looking forward to this one since we lost last year,” Wood said. “That was one of the most fun games we played, and we lost. Now we’re looking for the opportunity to beat them.”

Glenwood won, 25-20, a year ago in a game where the Sailors missed two field goals and had three second-half fumbles.

But Steamboat doesn’t necessarily need to look back to fire up its engines.

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Wood said today’s game will renew an ongoing rivalry, one brewing for years.

Even better for Steamboat, a Sailor victory would spoil Glenwood’s chance of securing the Western Slope League championship.

Oh, and Demons enter the game ranked as the No. 1 team in Class 3A.

“They’re very excited to play,” Finch said about his team. “One of the fun things about high school sports, you always play against the same kids. You play them over the years in football and basketball and everything. (Glenwood) has a very talented group of athletes in their senior class, and our guys are very excited to play them.”

Walking off the field with a victory in tow certainly won’t be easy. Glenwood has ridden a highly explosive offense led by senior quarterback Dakota Stonehouse to a perfect record this season.

The Demons have outscored opponents by more than 24 points, routed Moffat County, 41-7, last week and beat previously perfect Palisade on the road, 29-22, the week prior.

That’s the same Palisade squad that thumped Steamboat last month, 39-14, for the Sailors only loss.

Stonehouse threw for 231 yards and one touchdown in that game. He’s thrown for at least one score every game this season since the opening week. And it’s not like he took that one off – he ran for four touchdowns in a 31-26 season-opening win against Montrose.

“It is a fun matchup because we both run a similar style offense, a spread option out of the shotgun,” Finch said. “They like to throw the ball but can certainly run it, as well.

“We’re not going to stop (Stonehouse) or their offense, but we need to contain it and slow it down a little to stay competitive.”

Finch said he’s been impressed with the way his players have handled the week’s excitement. Glenwood coach Rocky Whitworth, too, said his kids will come to the game grounded and focused.

But again, even their reassuring words did little to pour water on the fire. Tonight’s game won’t make or break the season for either squad, but both teams have been planning to win it for months.

“It’s a very important game for the league and playoff standings,” Whitworth said. “It’s for a championship, and we’re going to have to play our very best game to come out of there alive.

“Any time you get a season-ending game for a championship, it’s always something special.”

If you go

What: Steamboat vs. Glenwood Springs football

When: 7 p.m., today

Where: Gardner Field

Radio: AM 1230

Season statistics

First Downs: Steamboat 116; Opponent 111

Rushes-Yards: Steamboat 287-1,616; Opponent 364-1,532

Comp-Att-Int: Steamboat 75-133-7; Opponent 51-151-11

Yards Passing: Steamboat 1,319; Opponent 674

Total Yards: Steamboat 2,935; Opponent 2,206

Punts-Avg.: Steamboat 18-33; Opponent 31-32

Fumbles-lost: Steamboat 26-6; Opponent 24-4

Penalties-Yards: Steamboat 66-516; Opponent 48-362

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Steamboat 118-113-66-48-345

Opponent 42-34-35-50-159

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

S – Hinder 79-534, 9 TD; Fraser Egan 95-556, 11 TD; Joe Dover 64-513, 8 TD; Charles Wood 5-26, 1 TD; Dustin Siegel 14-47; Cody Harris 1-8; Jasper Gantick 1-(-19); Eric Bonner 3-15, 1 TD; Michael Savory 2-(-10); Dylan Pivarnik 2-7, 1 TD; Alex Wood 7-42; Grant McCannon 2-(-17); Garrett Pugh 11-30.

Passing

S – Hinder 70-125-6, 1,285 yards, 10 TD; Alex Wood 1-2-0, 22 yards, 1 TD; McCannon 1-2-0, 5 yards; Bonner 1-1-0, 2 yards; Savory 1-2-0, minus-4 yards; Gantick 1-1-0, 14 yards, 1 TD.

Receiving

S – Alex Wood 32-620, 5 TD; Cody Harris 13-327, 3 TD; Dover 15-209, 1 TD; Egan 2-13, 1 TD; Jack Verploeg 1-5; Nelson Brassell 3-29; Gantick 1-11; Charles Wood 1-3; Jack Spady 2-58, 1 TD; Pivarnik 1-11, 1 TD; Bonner 2-22; Siegiel 1-(-4).

WSL standings

Glenwood Springs 9-0 overall, 7-0 in league

Palisade 9-1, 7-1

Steamboat Springs 8-1, 7-1

Eagle Valley 4-5, 4-3

Montezuma-Cortez 3-4, 2-4

Moffat County 3-6, 2-5

Delta 3-5, 1-5

Rifle 2-7, 2-5

Battle Mountain 0-9, 0-7

Last year’s game

Glenwood Springs 25, Steamboat 20

Just as it will tonight, Glenwood entered as Class 3A’s No. 1 team. Steamboat took a 7-0 lead on a 33-yard Austin Hinder-to-Alex Wood touchdown, but couldn’t take advantage of several defensive stops in the second half. The Sailors missed a pair of field goals and had three costly fumbles that stunted potential game-winning drives.