Preps weekend preview: Are they improving or was the opponent bad? Sailors football will find out Friday |

Preps weekend preview: Are they improving or was the opponent bad? Sailors football will find out Friday

Steamboat football

7 p.m. Friday Steamboat (1-5) vs. Moffat County (3-3)

The Sailors exploded in a big way Friday against Roaring Fork in what was the sixth game of the season and its first win. Offensively, Steamboat Springs High School more than doubled its scoring from the five previous games combined. Defensively, the team had its first shutout of the season, and its first since 2015.

But, was it just the opponent? That seems possible. Roaring Fork's scored just one touchdown all season (against Moffat County, for whatever that's worth.) The Rams struggled simply to get 11 players on the field.

There's also reason to believe there was a little more going on for Steamboat. Three of the team's six touchdowns came from players only recently added to the roster. Receivers Mac Riniker and Tyler Doyne each caught a pass in what was their second game of the season. Defensive back Austin Ban, who transferred to Steamboat this year and thus had to sit out the first half of the season, returned an interception for a touchdown in what was his first game of the season.

A big key for the entire program has been getting more athletes out for football. Roaring Fork doesn't make for very good competition, but Steamboat also saw the benefit of an expanding roster, and that could help playing at home against Moffat County.

Steamboat tennis

Thursday, Friday and Saturday Steamboat at state tennis in Pueblo

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Steamboat will have three entries and four players compete this week at the Class 4A state tennis tournament in Pueblo.

The Sailors qualified Wyatt Stempel at No. 2 singles, Roy Lundeen at No. 3 singles and Gabe Rabanal and Kyle Nilsson at No. 2 doubles to the tournament. John Hannaway and Luke Borgerding at No. 1 doubles also qualified but will miss the event after an injury.

All four entries finished second in their bracket at regionals, which means a tough row awaits. They'll have to play a regional champion from another region in a first-round match. But, once momentum starts rolling at state, it can roll a long way and any squad that wins Thursday morning could be looking at a deep run in its 16-team bracket.

Steamboat soccer

6 p.m. Saturday Steamboat (8-2-1) at Centaurus (7-2-1)

The Sailors will get a welcome break from the Western Slope League grind Saturday as they head to the Front Range to play Centaurus at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.

The game won't factor into the league race, obviously, but a win could be a nice boost for the Sailors' playoff hopes. The squad is currently ranked 23rd in the state, good enough to make the field for the championship tournament. It's not a lock to make the postseason, however, so every win is crucial, not only in ensuring the team makes the field, but in improving the team's seed so it doesn't open the tournament with a road game against one of the state's very best sides.

Steamboat, Soroco cross country

Thursday at Rifle

Thursday's race in Rifle represents the final dry run of the season for local cross country teams before next week's regional championships. Both Steamboat and Soroco teams have big plans for regionals, so they'll be looking to be in top form heading into that meet.

Steamboat took last weekend off, but Soroco ran at the Chris Severy Invitational in Aspen and came away with several top results. Chloe Veilleux was second in the varsity girls race, finishing the 5-kilometer race in 23 hours, 14 minutes, about a minute behind the day's winner, Sarah Wagler of Rifle. Charlee Veilleux was 18th and Mattie Rossi 22nd.

Brad Veilleux placed 13th on the boys side, Alex Colby 28th and Joshua Taing 41st.

Hayden football

1 p.m. Saturday Hayden (4-2) at Gilpin County (5-1)

The Gilpin County football program managed five wins between 2004 and 2012, but things have been slowly building since and this year the program may be as strong as it's been in a long, long time. The Eagles haven't made the playoffs for 30 years, but behind the senior steamroller, Austin Boulter, that's looking likely. Gilpin is ranked No. 8 in 8-man football in this week's poll.

Stopping Boulter will be the first and most difficult goal for the Tigers. He's a big kid, tough to bring down, who took on most of the team's quarterbacking duties last week against Soroco, but Gilpin has a number of athletes it can shift into different positions. Soroco got burned several times when it focused too much on Boulter's rushing ability.

Hayden bounced back last week in a big way from its first real loss of the season and it should be able to move the ball against an Eagles defense that's given up an average of 27 points per game this season.

Can the Tigers stop Gilpin's offense, however? That's what it will all come down to.

Soroco, Hayden volleyball

6:30 p.m. Thursday Soroco vs. Hayden

6 p.m. Friday Soroco at Plateau Valley

6 p.m. Friday Hayden vs. Vail Christian

It may not get bigger this season for either the Soroco or the Hayden high school volleyball teams than when the two squads meet Thursday in Oak Creek.

Both teams are locked at the bottom of the Class 2A Western Slope League, but could begin an upward trajectory toward the middle of the 12-team league with a win against their cross-county rival.

The teams were only scheduled to play once this season, but butted heads early in September in a tournament. The Tigers struck first there, winning an incredibly tight match in a best-of-three format. Just four combined points decided the match. It doesn't come any closer to "toss up," so Thursday should be exciting.

Soroco football

7 p.m. Friday Soroco (4-2) at Plateau Valley (2-4)

The Rams lost a lot in Friday's slugfest of a game against Gilpin County, including the easiest possible path to winning the league and a chance at a reasonable playoff seed.

They didn't lose everything, however, and even if the chances to win the league are suddenly remote, they exist. The team must bounce back against Plateau Valley to keep those hopes alive.

The Cowboys have been more balanced on offense this season than most 8-man teams, but things could come down to how well Soroco spells Jace Logan. Logan was up to his jaw-dropping antics against Gilpin, racking up nearly 500 all-purpose yards. He also had an absurd 23 total tackles.

He played to the point of exhaustion, however, and was unavailable in the game's final offensive plays. Logan's fun to watch, no question, but the Rams' coaching staff needs to find a way to work in other backs and spread the workload around if it's to win crazy game's like the one against Gilpin.