Sailors, Bears match-up almost equal

Football games will not get any bigger in Steamboat than tonight's match-up between the Steamboat Springs Sailors and the Rifle Bears.

Both teams have hopes of making it into the post season, have one loss in league play and know just how much a win will help their situation. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Gardner Field.

"This game will definitely have playoff implications," Steamboat coach Mark Drake said Thursday.

The Bears, 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the league, are coming off a 40-0 win over Battle Mountain last week. The Rifle team upset Palisade, 3-1 in league, a few week's ago, but lost to what's proving to be the toughest team in the league, undefeated Moffat County, just two weeks ago.

"They like to run a lot of counters with their backs and use the play action pass a lot," Drake said. "We will need some sharp coverage in the secondary, and hopefully we can hold their backs under 100 yards."

Drake said Rifle isn't as big across the line as they have been in the past, but they have two dangerous running backs who can break big plays.

This year Marcus Carrion has gotten the ball the most. However, Troy Weiss, who suffered an ankle injury early in the season, was among the top five rushers in the state last year.

"They are extremely quick," Drake said. "Sometimes that's harder to stop than the bigger slower back."

Drake thinks the Sailors will have to use the passing game and quarterback David May's ability to get the ball to Steamboat's speedy wide outs to make the difference.

Drake was happy to see his team run the ball well in Glenwood Springs last weekend but isn't sure that Steamboat will be able to move the ball as easily against the Bears' aggressive defense.

"We are going to have to bring our "A" game," Drake said.

The game will open with a tribute to the Steamboat Sailors seniors, who will be playing their last home game of the season.

"This is our chance to honor our seniors," Drake said. "It's always a special night."

To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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