GLENWOOD SPRINGS (9/15/17) – Steamboat Springs’ football fortunes have drifted far from the glory days of the swift, one-armed Tom Southall and the statuesque, strong arm of Austin Hinder. Southall, a member of the Colorado High School Hall of Fame, and Hinder, who led the Sailors to the state championship game in 2009 before going on to play D-I at the University of California, wouldn’t have recognized the team that lost 34-0 to Glenwood Springs after an hour’s delay due to lightning and torrential downpours Friday night.
After Hinder’s departure, the Sailors went 0-20 the next two seasons, and last year, Steamboat dropped down to the 2A Western Slope League, won one game and tied for last place. Playing a classification lower hasn’t helped: this season the Sailors have begun 0-3 and been outscored 92-12.
Glenwood Springs, as was demonstrated on its rain-soaked field, is going in the opposite direction, having endured a 13-19 record since last reaching the state playoffs in 2012. The Demons improved to 3-0 (for the first time since their undefeated state championship 2008 season) using a running game that rivaled the lightning strikes that forced both teams back to the locker room and pushed kickoff back by an hour.
The Demons piled up 322 yards rushing along with five touchdowns, led by junior running back Luke Gair, who gained 166 yards with three touchdowns, and featuring a breakout game from senior Luis Mariano – who until dashing for 109 yards and two TDs against Steamboat, had just one yard rushing and two receptions in his Demon career.
The Sailors, meanwhile netted just 16 total yards, passing and rushing and managed only four first downs to 16 for Glenwood.
After finally getting back on the field for the opening kickoff, Glenwood wasted no time, going 60 yards in five plays with Gair going in from the two just 75 seconds into the game. Key plays in the drive were first down runs by Gair of ten yards, Mariano for 16, and quarterback AJ Crowley optioned for 23 on three consecutive carries.
Penalties and a wet football leading to a fumble slowed the Demon offense on their next possession, but a ten-yard scramble by Crowley, and steady pounding by Gair set up a 29-yard TD explosion by Mariano on the first play of the second quarter. Tyler Dietrich missed his first extra point attempt in eight tries, leaving Glenwood up 13-0.
Gair showed explosiveness of his own following a Sailor punt, breaking loose for 67 yards and a 19-0 lead with 5:48 remaining in the half. A four first-down drive just before intermission was thwarted when Dietrich’s field goal try from 17 was low. By that time, rain had again started to fall and the field conditions were undermining all aspects of the game.
A sloppy scoreless third quarter followed, including six penalties between the two teams and punts on every possession that didn’t end in a turnover – Glenwood losing a fumble, and Mariano stealing his second interception of the season.
With temperatures dropping, Gair’s 21-yard TD run on the initial play of the fourth period, followed by his two-point conversion run, boosted the score to 27-0 and Mariano’s 56 yard scoring dash 111 seconds later brought in the back-ups for Glenwood.
Crowley completed 2-of-4 passes for 20 yards and added 61 yards rushing; Gavin Olson had 43 yards in six attempts. Ford Loudon’s 24 yards led the Sailors, but was offset by quarterback Drew Bowers negative 22, including four sacks.
Glenwood takes to the road, traveling to Colorado Springs Harrison, which is atop the 3A South Central League, also with a 3-0 record.