Rams leap into the postseason | SteamboatToday.com

Rams leap into the postseason

1st playoff appearance for Soroco since 2003

Soroco's Isaac Jonas gets airborne after Hayden's Garrett St. Clair dove for a tackle Friday night in Oak Creek. St. Clair brought Jonas down on the play, but Jonas had a big night rushing, racking up 253 yards. The Rams earned the No. 15 seed in the 8-man playoffs and will continue their season this weekend.
Joel Reichenberger

2016 8-man playoffs

1 Sedgwick County, 8-1, vs. 16 McClave, 6-3

2 Sargent, 9-0 vs. 15 Soroco, 6-3

3 Akron, 7-2, vs. 14 Holly, 6-2

4 Hoehne, 7-2, vs. 13 Mancos, 5-4

5 Norwood, 8-1, vs. 12 Plateau Valley, 6-3

6 Pikes Peak Christian, 8-1, vs. 11 Haxtun, 5-4

7 West Grand, 8-1, vs. 10 Dayspring Christian 6-3

8 Granada, 7-2, vs. 9 Merino, 7-2

— The Soroco High School football team will be playing playoff football for the first time since 2003.

The Rams were included Sunday in the 16-team Colorado 8-man football playoff bracket, earning the No. 15 seed and a date next weekend against No. 2, Sargent.

“That’s fair,” coach Dick Dudas said, considering the rank. “We have no complaints about it at all. You’ve got to play the big boys sooner or later, anyway.”

Soroco qualified for a postseason cross-divisional game three times since dropping to 8-man football in 2008, doing so as recently as 2013. It never advanced beyond that, however, and into the 16-team seeded bracket.

The state has since abandoned the cross-divisional format, and the Rams haven’t made the cut in those years, either.

This year, however, Soroco spent much of the season ranked in the top 16 of the RPI rankings. A midseason, two-game losing streak eliminated the team’s chance of winning its league and the guaranteed playoff spot that comes with it, but a 6-3 record proved enough for the Rams to get in.

If the Rams are to play more than one game in the playoffs, they’ll need to find a way to beat one of the state’s best teams.

Sargent is 9-0 and was ranked No. 2 in the state in the most recent CHSAANow.com poll after spending much of the season at No. 1.

The team drove to the state semifinals a year ago.

Soroco, meanwhile, closed the regular season with a 56-28 win against Hayden after losing its two previous games, 34-20 to Plateau Valley and 46-22 against West Grand.

“We have a lot of heart,” quarterback Isaac Jonas said. “South Routt County, we’re small, not a very big school, and we’ve been taken as a joke, sometimes. But we have the biggest heart, so if that’s worth anything, that will help us win.”

The RPI system that put the Rams into the playoffs proved a boon to Northwest Colorado teams, which haven’t had much of a postseason footprint in recent years.

Soroco is one of three teams from its league to make it. West Grand, which won the Northwest League, is in as the No. 7 seed, playing at home against Dayspring Christian Academy. Plateau Valley also got the call and will play as the No. 12 seed at No. 4 Norwood.

It’s the first time any three teams from the current Northwest League have been included in the same season.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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