Rams look to open up attack in big games
As it turns out, there’s a formula for stopping the Soroco High School football team’s yard-devouring running back, Jace Logan.
Logan’s coming off an absurd statistical year of rushing the football, one in which he gained 1,858 yards and scored 21 touchdowns, one of the best 8-man stat lines not in the league or the state, but the nation.
He started off this season as strong as he could, too, piling up 337 yards and scoring seven touchdowns Saturday in the Rams’ season opening win against Caliche.
The problem has never been gaining yards on team’s like Caliche, however, a program that didn’t win a game last year.
Against elite competition, Logan’s been much less effective, and Friday, the Rams will face one of the best teams in the state, traveling to play at 7 p.m. at Norwood.
The Mavericks held Logan to only 24 yards on six carries in a matchup last season.
Ranked No. 8 in the chsaanow.com preseason poll, they’re set for another big season, and if Soroco’s to throw a wrench in their plans, it will need to either find a way to free up Logan or find similar production elsewhere.
The Rams are hoping to do a little of both.
“We look at how to free him up, but also how to use him as a decoy,” Soroco coach Dick Dudas said.
The formula for that success against Logan last year proved to be intense focus from very good defenders.
He often found himself shadowed everywhere he went and doubled most of that time.
“They watch a lot of film, and they really key on me,” Logan said. “They have a couple guys on me at all times.”
Soroco has at least three ways it hopes to answer that focus.
First, it’s hoping to take advantage of that intense focus with misdirection-style plays.
That was on display Saturday, when Logan took a reverse handoff deep in Soroco territory, then cut it up field and went 97 yards for a touchdown.
“We’re putting in a lot of counter plays, misdirection plays, where Jace is going one way, and we come back the other,” Dudas said.
The Rams are also looking for others to step up.
Logan was part of a one-two punch last year with then-senior quarterback Isaac Jonas, who racked up nearly 1,600 yards offense running and passing, while accounting for 19 touchdowns.
They started the process of developing new threats Saturday.
Jesse Koler, a 140-pound sophomore running back, gained 77 yards on 7 carries. Soroco also got 60 yards rushing on eight carries from junior quarterback Truman Anarella, who also completed two passes for 35 yards.
The task for Anarella, for instance, isn’t to win the game with his arm or his feet, but rather to be effective enough to take some heat off Logan.
“A short passing game will make the linebackers back off the line of scrimmage,” Dudas said.
The last piece of the puzzle comes down to Dudas and Logan, themselves. One thing that stuck out about those games last year, when Logan was stymied, was how few touches he got. Six carries against Norwood was his low for the season.
He only had seven in a lopsided playoff loss to Sargent, when he was limited to 20 yards.
Against those elite teams, there are few first downs for a team like Soroco and few offensive plays and opportunities for Logan, or anyone else, to rack up yards. Still, Dudas said it’s important not to lose faith in his dynamic running back.
“If Jace gets 20 or 25 carries, he’ll break a few of them,” Dudas said. “We just have to have patience. If we give it to him three or four or five times and it doesn’t work, we need to keep at it.”
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