Koler keeps ’em coming: Soroco senior scores four touchdowns in dominant win over Sangre de Cristo
OAK CREEK — Marking his final home opener with the Soroco High School football team, senior running back Jesse Koler scored four touchdowns, helping his team to a dominant 54-14 win over Sangre de Cristo on Saturday, Sept. 7.
Koler opened the scoring with a 2-yard run just over four minutes into the game. Contributing to a 34-point second stanza, the 5-foot-8 back added scoring rushes of 32 and 36 yards and collected a 3-yard pass for another score.
“I don’t know if there was a favorite one,” Koler thought back to his touchdowns. “I enjoy all of them because it’s a team effort with everyone, the line blocking, all of our receivers downfield blocking. If they do their job, I’ll do my job and score for them.”
Senior receiver and defensive back Sam Iacovetto started his last home opener with a bang, as well. On the Thunderbird’s second possession of the game, senior quarterback Zeb Stephens ripped the ball down field towards senior receiver Mario Enriquez. Enriquez got in front of Iacovetto, but as they both leapt into the air, the Rams defender got his right hand on the ball before hauling it into his chest as he fell.
“I just remember the receiver being quite a bit taller, so I had to explode up and catch the ball and pull it down,” Iacovetto said.
His interception set up Soroco’s second score.
On second and five, with the ball on the Thunderbird’s 40-yard line, junior quarterback Tyler Wixom attempted his first pass of the game. He threw towards senior Nick Estes, but it fell incomplete. So, the 5-foot-9 QB went back to what the Rams had been doing: running.
On third-and-five, Wixom elected to keep the ball, running 60 yards to paydirt.
“We had holes, our line was blocking, our backs were making plays,” Wixom said. “That’s all we needed to get the job done.”
Regardless of who had the ball, the Soroco ground game was spectacular. Ten different players in maroon and white ran the ball, racking up 379 total yards on the ground.
Junior Kody Logan earned a 32-yard rushing touchdown in the early goings of the second. Freshman Bradley Hoskinson also carried the ball into the end zone in the third, the final touchdown for the Rams.
- Aug. 31: at South Park, W 34-8
- Sept. 7: vs. Sangre de Cristo, W 54-14
- Sept. 13: vs. Justice, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 27: vs. Gilpin County, 6 p.m.
- Oct. 4: at Plateau Valley, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 11: vs. Vail Christian, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 18: at Rangely, 7 p.m.
- Oct. 25: vs. West Grand, 7 p.m.
- Nov. 1: at Hayden, 7 p.m.
“We really worked on, after our last game, talking to our offensive line and getting aggressive,” Soroco head coach Johnny DeCosta said. “They came out and started aggressive. We had no need to throw the ball if we’re getting six, seven yards every time.”
Wixom went 3-for-6 while passing, accruing 99 yards in the air and two touchdown passes. At the five minute mark of the second quarter, Estes was wide open when Wixom got him the ball. Weaving around a few Thunderbirds (0-1), he dashed up the sideline to score.
With 11 men suited up, Sangre de Cristo players essentially had to play the entire contest on both sides of the ball.
While still fresh, Stephens fell over the goal line, capping off a 62-yard scoring drive to start the second. Nearly two hours later on their final drive of the game, the Thunderbirds kept pushing. With some younger Soroco personnel on the field, Stephens found freshman wideout Leighton Curtis for a touchdown with two minutes remaining in the game.
“They handed it well,” Sangre de Cristo head coach Paul Gilleland said of the small roster. “They played with a chip on their shoulder. They came out ready to play every play. Numbers mean a lot in this game. Size is one thing, but you go up against 24 guys and you’re playing with 11, it’s gonna be tough to hang for four quarters.”
The biggest downfall of the day, was penalties.
Ahead of the halftime break, Soroco committed a pair of holds. On the Rams first two plays of the second half, they were whistled for back-to-back blocks in the back.
“Last week, we only had one penalty, and it got declined,” DeCosta said. “This week, it was a little bit of a different story. We just had different personnel in there trying a bunch of different stuff out.”
Soroco 54, Sangre de Cristo 14
SO 14 34 6 0
SDC 0 6 0 8
SO: Jesse Koler 2 rush, Joey McLaughlin, 7:38
SO: Tyler Wixom 60 rush, conversion no good, 5:50
SDC: Zeb Stephens 1 rush, 11:10
SO: Koler 32 rush, conversion no good, 9:43
SO: Kody Logan 10 rush, conversion no good, 7:18
SO: Nick Estes 85 pass from Wixom, Bradley Hoskinson, 5:00
SO: Koler 3 pass from Wixom, conversion no good, 2:27
SO: Koler 36 rush, McLaughlin, 0:45
SO: Hoskinson 15 rush, conversion no good, 6:40
SDC: Leighton Curtis 25 pass from Stephens, Austin Sierra, 2:15
Rushing: SO: Koler 173 yards, 3 TDs; Wixom 92, TD.
Receiving: SO: Koler TD; Estes TD.
Passing: SO: Wixom 3-6, 99 yards, 2 TDs.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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