Steamboat win against Moffat County assures postseason bid | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat win against Moffat County assures postseason bid

Luke Graham

— Goal No. 1 is in the books for the Steamboat Springs High School football team. Now the focus is on the six goals ahead.

With Friday’s 43-7 win against Moffat County, Steamboat punched its ticket into the Class 3A playoffs. For the Sailors, playing six more games would mean contending for a state title.

The team still has a shot at a Western Slope League title, pending the outcome of today’s Palisade-Glenwood Springs game. But Friday night, what started with summer speed drills, camps and weightlifting sessions finally all came to fruition against the Sailors’ rival 45 miles west on U.S. Highway 40.

And it happened in impressive fashion – each time opportunities presented themselves to the Sailors, Steamboat simply did what good teams do.

Capitalize.

The Sailors showed they were the much more experienced team, turning five Bulldogs turnovers and a blocked punt into 28 points. A young Moffat County team that had its opportunities early – especially because of two early Steamboat turnovers – couldn’t capitalize.

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“We have so many guys that make plays offensively,” Steamboat coach Aaron Finch said. “It makes it easy to figure out what you’re doing. They took some stuff away, but when you take away one thing, there’s usually something else.”

The first half highlighted the differences between the programs. Steamboat certainly wasn’t as crisp early as the team has been in the past, but the bottom line was that when presented with a chance to take control of the game, the Sailors did just that.

The first opportunity came when Moffat County fumbled inside the Steamboat 20-yard line. Three plays later, Austin Hinder connected with Cody Harris on an 85-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 led.

The Bulldogs answered on their next possession with a 29-yard run by Jason Kettle to knot the score at 7.

But that’s when Steamboat took control of the game.

Fraser Egan scored from a yard out after Joe Dover returned a punt 61 yards to give Steamboat prime field position.

Senior Kevin Stokes then blocked a Moffat County punt on the ensuing possession before Dover scored from 2 yards out to give Steamboat a commanding 21-7 lead. Egan added his second touchdown late in the second quarter to send the Sailors into halftime ahead, 28-7.

“The big thing is team speed,” Bulldogs coach Kip Hafey said. “Steamboat is a lot faster, and it’s hard to account for speed. They took control of it with that. We just couldn’t answer the speed they got.”

Steamboat put it away for good in the third quarter. Egan scored his third rushing touchdown of the game, this time from 9 yards out, before Jack Spady caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from Hinder to put Steamboat up, 43-7, heading into the fourth quarter.

“Everybody just does their assignments,” Sailors lineman Darien Buelter said. “Austin, Joe, Fraser and (Alex) Wood – we’re full of stars out there. We went out and decided this is our rival and we’re going to hit them in the face. We came out, hit these guys square in the face and didn’t let down.”

Now that the playoffs are assured, Steamboat will play the next two weeks with an eye on seeding.

The team travels to Buena Vista on Friday before returning home the following Friday to play Glenwood, a clash of likely top-5 teams.

Finch said although the Buena Vista game sets up as a trap game – one against a nonleague, smaller school – the team has to have the mindset that it can’t overlook anyone.

“The big goal is made. Now we’re in the playoffs,” Finch said. “Last week it was seven weeks, now it’s six weeks. We view this as a six-week season now. We know we get to play for three more, but the goal is six more.”

Game statistics

First Downs: Steamboat 12; 8

Rushes-Yards : Steamboat 33-145; Moffat County 40-128

Comp-Att-Int : Steamboat 9-18-1; Moffat County 3-11-3

Yards Passing: Steamboat 199; Moffat County 61

Total Yards: Steamboat 344; Moffat County 189

Punts-Avg.: Steamboat 2-44; Moffat County 4-31

Fumbles-lost: Steamboat 4-1; Moffat County 4-2

Penalties-Yards: Steamboat 9-67; Moffat County 5-35

SCORE BY QUARTERS

Steamboat 14-14-15-00-43

Moffat 07-00-00-00-7

SCORING SUMMARY

First Quarter

S – 6:58, Cody Harris 85 pass from Austin Hinder. (Peter Schuette kick).

MC – 5:04, Jason Kettle 29 run. (Halen Ramond kick).

S – 3:23, Fraser Egan 1 run. (Schuette kick).

Second Quarter

S – 11:55, Joe Dover 2 run. (Schuette kick).

S – 3:18, Egan 9 run. (Schuette kick).

Third Quarter

S – 9:11, Egan 16 run. (Schuette kick).

S – 5:57, Jack Spady 55 pass from Hinder. (Bonner from Wood).

Fourth Quarter

None

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing

S – Egan 14-62, 3 TD; Dover 5-18, 1 TD; Hinder 8-40; Alex Wood 3-14; Garrett Pugh 3-11.

MC – Kettle 7-54, 1 TD; Pablo Salcido 17-77; Halen Ramond 9-22; Matt Linsacum 5-(-22); Nathan Tomlin 1-(-1).

Passing

S – Hinder 8-16-1, 197 yards, 2 TD; Wood 1-2-0, 2 yards.

MC – Linsacum 3-11-3, 61 yards.

Receiving

S – Harris 2-86, 1 TD; Wood 4-43; Dover 1-13; Spady 1-55, 1 TD; Eric Bonner 1-2.

MC – Salcido 3-61.