The Steamboat Springs football team was unrecognizable on Saturday night. The Sailors were stranded in defense and showed a dangerous offense in a 28-15 victory over Valley High School.
The hometown crowd lived for the action. Ten cheerleaders and a student section of over 100 kept Gardner Field rowdy. It was an energy that had been missing from the stadium for some time.
“I remember my first year student in second year people were leaving at half time. The stands were gone, ”said senior quarterback Jake Hamric. “It’s great with the end of COVID and our class is really into all of these sporting events, and with our football team trying to change the culture of our team, everything is going well.”
The excitement started right away. After two quick defensive saves, Steamboat followed up a scoring practice. Senior quarterback Jake Hamric threw more than 15 yards at sophomore Beck Vanderbosh. The receiver was under great pressure, but he jumped higher than his Valley defender. Catching the ball in the hands of the defender, Vanderbosh gave the Sailors a 6-0 lead. Junior Cade Gedeon completed the two-point conversion and the home side had an 8-0 lead with 7:36 remaining in the first.
In an exciting play of pieces, the sailors seemed to agree this one was the biggest, setting the tone for the entire evening.
In the second quarter, Steamboat stomped on the ground, but encountered a roadblock on the two-yard line: fourth down. Confident in their position on the ground, the Sailors set off. The offensive line guided Hamric over the line of scrimmage to win the first down.
With a yard between his team and a touchdown, Hamric handed the ball into the hands of running back Brady Grove. At first it seemed like Grove was caught up in the crowd and pushed back. Suddenly he broke sideways and ran unchallenged into the end zone.
“Our motto at the start of the match was ‘play for the man next to you’,” said Hamric. “If some of us had a bad play, as I threw two interceptions, we supported each other and were able to get up. I think that’s how we managed tonight.
Players said the in-game currency and the season motto “Be The Change” made a huge difference. They have never been so motivated and prepared and they said it was because of the coaching staff.
“We love each other,” Gedeon said.
“We are a family,” added Vanderbosh.
With 1:35 to go at halftime, Valley scored on an interception return. The sailors could have panicked, but they remained calm. With 19 seconds left in the half, the Vikings were once again approaching the end zone, but Steamboat had them on their heels. On the fourth down, Valley threw the ball into the end zone. Junior Sailor Austin Moore dashed their hopes of scoring, intercepting the ball and running a few yards.
In the second half, Gedeon got the redemption for three consecutive passes abandoned in the second quarter. In the third, he intercepted the ball and ran almost halfway to score. It was Hamric’s favorite game.
Early in the fourth, Hamric sent a rising pass to Gedeon, who effortlessly caught the 35-yard throw and circled two Valley defenders to score.
The game against 2A Valley was the first of five non-championship games on the Sailors’ schedule leading to five championship games. Winning doesn’t guarantee Steamboat will be so fluid against regional teams, but it’s certainly a good place to start.
Steamboat Springs 28, Valley 15
SS 8 6 7 7 – 28
V 0 7 0 8 – 15
SS – Beck Vanderbosh 15 assist by Jake Hamric, convert Cade Gedeon, 7:36
SS – Brady Grove 1 rush, poor conversion, 3:05
V – Giovanni Mendoza INT back, PAT good, 1:32
SS – Cade Gedeon INT returns, Charlie Reisman kick, 2:53
SS – Gedeon 35 pass from Hamric, kick from Reisman, 9:43 (28-7)
V – six rush, good conversion, 0:57
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.