Seniors lead Sailors into season finale at Glenwood Springs | SteamboatToday.com

Seniors lead Sailors into season finale at Glenwood Springs

Austin Colbert

Carrying the team flag, Steamboat Springs senior Christopher Kaminski leads the Sailors onto the field prior to their Sept. 25 home game against Delta. SSHS lost that game 49-0, but it started an upward trend leading to Friday's season finale at Glenwood Springs.

— After a 49-0 home loss to Delta on Sept. 25 that dropped the Steamboat Springs High School football team to .500 and snapped a two-game win streak, the Sailors were looking for much-needed guidance.

Junior tight end/linebacker Charlie Harrington was among those looking up to the SSHS seniors, a group that was determined to keep the season from spiraling out of control.

"After that game, we had some negativity going on, because it was a tough loss and things like that. But our seniors stepped up and said, ‘We are not going to let this happen,’" Harrington said. "There have been some tough games and tough times, but our seniors have always been there and have always supported everyone and led the way."

At 3-6 entering Friday's 7 p.m. season finale at Glenwood Springs (1-8), the Sailors haven’t seen much success from a record standpoint. But most of their struggle has stemmed from a top-heavy schedule and a mid-season stretch that included games against some of the best teams in the state.

That doesn't mean, however, the season was anything close to a failure.

"When you are doing everything you can to win football games throughout the whole season — and we've received compliments from other coaches — you can't be upset about the season," SSHS coach Lonn Clementson said. "After we lost the Delta game, we were 2-2, and there was a huge change in the program. The seniors are the catalyst for that. We have played, I think, better and better football every week."

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Everything came together last Friday with a 38-0 win over Summit on senior night that ended a five-game losing streak. Not only was it a great way for the seniors to end their football careers on Gardner Field, but it showed their continued leadership and optimism throughout the season had made a difference.

"I think all of us, as captains and seniors and leaders, know that being a role model and staying motivated helps motivate others," SSHS senior captain Connor Frasier said. "It's a huge responsibility, but it's one that everyone on this team is willing to take. Especially when we are playing these high-level teams, it takes some serious leadership and motivation to stand up to the challenge and look at it as an opportunity to get better and to work harder."

Friday's game at Glenwood Springs has no playoff significance. It's senior night for the Demons, and the final regular-season game for both teams. While there will be no next week for either team once the final buzzer sounds, it's still one last opportunity for the seniors to show their leadership and get the returning players ready for 2016.

"Our captains have done a really good job of making sure we are out here because we love the sport and we love having fun with our brothers," Harrington said. "(Next year) I'm just going to keep trying to do what they're doing, and keep making football fun for everyone. That's all I can really do."

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert