Sailors trounce Panthers, 46-7, for homecoming | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors trounce Panthers, 46-7, for homecoming

Luke Graham

— Right now, it might not matter whom the Steamboat Springs High School football team plays.

Set up in a classic trap game against one-win Montezuma-Cortez on Friday night at Gardner Field, Steamboat Springs (6-2 overall, 4-1 in league play), in no way appeared to have next week’s clash with Class 3A No. 1 Glenwood Springs in its sights.

If the team did, however, Friday’s 46-7 win against Montezuma-Cortez certainly didn’t show it.

Playing possibly their best overall game of the season, the Sailors were both workmanlike and flashy Friday.

Offensively, the team scored on its first seven drives of the game including six touchdowns.

The Sailors’ offense scored on every possession until 2 minutes, 36 seconds remained in the third quarter. The Sailors didn’t punt until 8:31 remained in the fourth.

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On defense, Steamboat turned six Montezuma-Cortez turnovers into 28 points, limited the Panthers to 196 yards and picked off four passes in the first half.

“We looked at it as getting better for next week,” said Matt Lettunich, who caught a touchdown pass on Steamboat’s first drive. “We knew getting a win was important, but we knew getting better was more important. We are definitely going to keep improving this week.”

It’s hard to fathom Steamboat getting a whole lot better.

After dropping its opening game to league opponent Palisade, Steamboat tore through four opponents by a combined score of 157-64.

“We smile when any play is called right now,” Steamboat right tackle Ahmad Akkad said. “We’re pretty confident right now.”

It’s not hard to be confident when a team has Steamboat’s weapons.

Even playing without two of its most athletic players in Nigel Hammond and Joe Dover – both had pulled muscles – the Steamboat offense didn’t miss a beat.

Continuing his hot hand, sophomore quarterback Austin Hinder threw four first-half touchdowns to four different receivers.

Senior running back Jay Hanley found the end zone three times, Ben DeLine added a field goal and the Sailors got a safety for the third consecutive week.

“It’s awesome the way we’ve been scoring,” Hanley said. “When you’re running, the line is opening up huge holes. They are just opening up huge gaps.”

The offensive line’s work made Hinder’s night easy.

Maybe the most impressive performance up front came from sophomore center Carl Steele.

Steele gave up 140 pounds to Panthers nose tackle Hayden Morehead. Yet for most of the night, Steele looked like the more aggressive player.

“I guess it’s the bigger they are the harder they fall,” said Steele, admitting the sleds in practice have become the line’s best friend. “It’s just the training. We just keep getting better.”

After Hinder opened up the scoring with a 7-yard strike to Lettunich, the young quarterback found Cole Krahenbuhl from 28 yards on the Sailors’ next drive.

Hanley added two touchdowns – one receiving and one running – before a Ben DeLine field goal with 1:12 left in the first half gave Steamboat a 32-0 lead.

But Steamboat’s near perfect first half wasn’t done. Alex Wood intercepted his third pass of the night, before catching a 38-yard touchdown pass on the next Steamboat offensive play as time expired in the first half.

Hanley added a 1-yard plunge midway through the third quarter to put the Sailors up 46-0. Panthers quarterback Logan Case scored with two minutes left in the fourth quarter to avoid the shutout.

Steamboat next plays at 7 p.m. Friday in Glenwood.

Individual statistics

•Rushing

S: Hanley 12-71, 2 TD; Hinder 9-55; Eric Bonner 5-26; Fraser Egan 6-8; Kevin Stokes 1-5; Jack Spady 2-(-28).

MC: Caleb Hollar 7-15; Case 6-39, 1 TD; Kienan Tibbits 3-8; Cody Emerson 2-11; Keenan Garcia 3-2; Noah Herrmann 2-26.

•Passing

S: Hinder 9-11-0, 178 yards, 4 TD.

MC: Case 7-19-5, 70 yards; Tibbits 1-1-0, 25 yards.

•Receiving

S: Wood 3-62, 1 TD; Krahenbuhl 2-31, 1 TD; Lettunich 1-7, 1 TD; Hanley 1-23, 1 TD; Cody Harris 1-28; Bonner 1-27.

MC: Garcia 3-24; Emerson 2-24; Dalton Mercure 1-3; Case 1-25; Hollar 1-19.

Game statistics

•SCORE BY QUARTERS

Cortez 00-00-00-00-7

Steamboat 16-23-07-00-46

•SCORING SUMMARY

First Quarter

S 10:23, Safety.

S 7:41, Matt Lettunich 7 pass from Austin Hinder. (Ben DeLine kick.)

S 4:00, Cole Krahenbuhl 28 pass from Hinder. (DeLine kick.)

Second Quarter

S 8:52, Jay Hanley 2 run. (DeLine kick.)

S 4:11, Hanley 23 pass from Hinder. (Kick fail.)

S 1:12, DeLine 29-yard field goal.

S :00, Alex Wood 38 pass from Hinder. (DeLine kick.)

Third Quarter

S 7:20, Hanley 1 run. (DeLine kick.)

Fourth Quarter

MC 2:40, Logan Case 9 run. (Kienan Tibbits kick,)

Missed the game?

Catch the replays of Sailors football games at 10:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Sundays and 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays on Steamboat TV 18.