Less travel, more experience could spell big payoff for Soroco football
Oak Creek — When Soroco High School quarterback Isaac Jonas broke his ankle in a 62-0 loss to Dayspring Christian Academy last September, it was the first major injury of his life. Initially, it was difficult for him to accept missing the rest of the 8-man football season, but he did his best to make what he could of the situation.
“I was in my room for most of the time … but when I got back up, I did the most I could trying to catch up on school and still support the team,” Jonas said. “It’s sore, obviously, but I think I’ll be all right. I don’t really think about it too much when I’m playing.”
Jonas, now a junior, is back on the practice field and was even named one of four captains for the Rams this season. Soroco, coming off a 5-3 season in which it just missed the playoffs, will have its third coach in three years with former assistant Dick Dudas taking charge.
Dudas, an Ohio native who moved to Routt County in 2009, takes over for Josef Keller, who was a last-minute hire after David Bruner stepped down following the 2013 season.
“I never thought about it, because I can’t stand the paperwork,” Dudas said, only half-jokingly, about becoming a head coach. “We’ve got a good, blue-collar brand of kids here. If you do it right, it’s what can start somebody on a proper path through life.”
With no experienced candidates applying for the opening this season, Dudas decided it was time to step up and take charge himself. According to the captains, which include seniors Storm Veilleux, Eric Logan and Warren Hayes, little has changed with Dudas holding the reins.
“I’ve known him ever since I’ve been playing here in Soroco,” Veilleux said. “He’s keeping the program going from what we had going before with Mr. Keller, so that’s good.”
The Rams return a lot from last year’s squad, including most of their skill position players. On top of having experience, Dudas said Soroco has a lot more size than it did a year ago, when it was “smaller than everybody” and “just got used to it.”
The four captains look to be the heart of the team, with Jonas back under center and at safety. Logan, who Dudas said is one of the hardest-hitting blockers around, will play fullback and middle linebacker. Veilleux plays a combination of running back and linebacker/safety, with the tall and athletic Hayes filling in wherever he is needed.
“You never get bored. There is always something new coming at you,” Hayes said about being one of the team’s most versatile players. “I think we are feeling pretty dang good.”
Soroco will get its season underway on Saturday in “Zero Week,” when it travels to Iliff to play defending state champion Caliche. The team will spend Friday night in nearby Sydney, Nebraska, its only overnight trip this season. A year ago, the Rams had three overnight trips, but this year, the schedule has flipped in their favor. Soroco will play five of its eight games at home, with the other road games taking place at Plateau Valley (Sept. 12) and Hayden (Oct. 30).
Home games include Sanford (Sept. 4), Dayspring Christian Academy (Sept. 18), Norwood (Oct. 2), Rangely (Oct. 9) and Plateau Valley (Oct. 24) in a second meeting.
“With the extra week of practice, we could definitely nail things down and get them perfected, but you got to get into it sometime I guess. Might as well get into in in Week Zero,” Logan said. “We got a lot of talent. Now we just got to put it together. If we can do that, I think we will be all right.”
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