Eagle Valley falls at Steamboat | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley falls at Steamboat

Special to the Daily/John RussellEagle Valley senior Trent Book rambles for yardage during Friday night's football game against the Steamboat Springs Sailors in Steamboat. Eagle Valley lost, 35-14, the team's fifth consecutive loss to ranked opponent. The Devils have a bye next week and then host non-ranked Moffat County for Homecoming.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colorado ” It wasn’t the best game the defense had played and it wasn’t the best game the offense had played.

But as a team, the Steamboat Springs football team put together its best and most complete game of the year on Friday, downing Eagle Valley, 35-14.

And it couldn’t have come soon enough with a date at second-ranked Palisade on Thursday.

“We’re 4-0 and I’m finally happy,” Steamboat coach Aaron Finch said. “We have that sense we put the pieces together. I could feel it coming this week. Our guys aren’t stupid and they watched the film and realized what a challenge Eagle Valley was going to be.”

On both sides of the ball, the Sailors were efficient. The offense racked up 406 total yards, while the defense limited Eagle Valley to 176.

Still, the game wasn’t decided until the fourth quarter.

After both teams had scored on long drives to open the half ” Eagle Valley’s took up 16 plays and more than six minutes off the clock ” things started to look like they were going the Devils way.

Trailing 27-14 with 8:41 seconds left in the game, Eagle Valley jarred the ball loose from Steamboat Springs senior Alex Wood. The Devils had the ball on their own 47-yard line with a chance.

But that’s when the Steamboat defense did what it has done all year. The Sailors forced the Devils into a three-and-out, including a sack by junior Mitchell Lekarczyk on third down.

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Steamboat’s Joe Dover took the ball 47 yards over the right side to put Steamboat up 35-14.

“Our problem through the year has been bad practices,” Lekarczyk said. “This week we threw out some great practices and had a great game.”

The Devils went three-and-out on their next possession to eliminate any chance of some late-game heroics.

While the Devils enter the bye week 0-5 overall and 0-3 in Western Slope League play, it’s not hard to see why.

Eagle Valley played five ranked teams in both Class 2A and 3A. To date, none of Eagle Valley’s opponents have a loss on their record.

“It will be nice to get a team on the schedule that’s not ranked,” Ramunno said. “We’ve had a tough schedule and hopefully it made us tougher. We got a week off to regroup then we take on Moffat (County) for homecoming. Hopefully I can get them fired up for that.”

Early on, Eagle Valley made it look like the game would be close like so many other times between the two league rivals.

John Crawford capped off a seven-play drive midway through the first quarter to give Eagle Valley a 6-0 lead.

But Steamboat roared back in the second quarter, scoring 20 unanswered points. Junior quarterback Austin Hinder got the Sailors on the board with a 14-yard scamper, before fellow juniors Fraser Egan and Joe Dover added touchdown runs to give Steamboat a 20-6 lead.

Egan punched the ball in again on the Sailors’ first drive of the second half, before Eagle Valley answered back with a Harrison Neal 2-yard run.

But that would be the last sustained drive Eagle Valley would complete the rest of the night.

“We have a hard time overcoming some of our mistakes,” Ramunno said. “It’s back to the drawing board for us. For us it’s consistency. We have to stay consistent.”

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