Rams rally from three scores down for senior day win over Cowboys
Oak Creek — Soroco High School football coach Dick Dudas jokingly calls them his secret trick plays. In reality, they are just mistakes junior quarterback Isaac Jonas has a knack for turning into highlight reel spectacles.
“I think I honestly do better when I have to think on my feet quick like that,” Jonas said. “Sometimes, like that last one to Kendall, it’s 30 yards behind me. I can’t just go jump on it. I got to pick it up and try to make something out of it.”
The play he was referring to was the one that gave Soroco a 36-28 come-from-behind win over Plateau Valley (4-4) on senior day Saturday in Oak Creek. With the game tied and Soroco in possession at the Cowboys’ 7-yard line with less than four minutes to play, the snap to Jonas sailed over his head and had disaster written all over it.
But true to form, Jonas tracked the loose ball down, avoided a few pursuers and heaved the ball nearly 30 yards back toward the line of scrimmage, where sophomore Kendall Hood stood wide open for the catch and touchdown.
“Some of the plays that we had, they were kind of wild. So it made it fun,” senior Eric Logan said. “This is definitely a good one to go out with. This is the last time I’m ever going to get to play on this field again. I definitely wanted to go out with a win, and I was a little scared there at first, but I couldn’t be happier.”
Logan’s doubt came early, when Plateau Valley jumped out to a 21-0 lead after the first quarter and looked primed to roll to a second win over Soroco in a single season, the first coming Sept. 12 in a non-league game, 33-26. But a pair of touchdowns and successful 2-point conversions cut Soroco’s deficit to 21-16 at halftime, and the rally was on.
“How do I sneak out of here without being seen?” Dudas jested about wanting to leave after the Rams fell behind by three scores. “At (halftime), I felt real comfortable about the game, because we were starting to exert strength. I could see signs in the second quarter that they were getting worn down, especially their fullback.”
Stopping Plateau Valley’s stud senior fullback Chris Miller was both Plan A and Plan B for the Rams. While he got the best of them early, Miller wore down as the game went on, and Soroco, usually on the short end of the physical battle this season, began to dictate the game.
The Cowboys did start the second half strong, when quarterback Joseph Heaton scored on a 40-yard run to stretch Plateau Valley’s lead to 28-16. But Soroco answered right back with a 60-yard run by freshman Jace Logan, setting up a 5-yard touchdown run by Jonas to pull the Rams within 28-22 midway through the third quarter.
“We tend to be a second-half team most of the time,” Jonas said. “When we went into the locker room at halftime, we knew we had to step it up. We got down a little bit more, but we know we can never give up. I think that’s what makes us a good team. We play like a team, and we have heart to keep going.”
Soroco tied the game early in the fourth quarter on another impromptu play by Jonas. He turned a low snap into a wild 38-yard touchdown pass to senior Warren Hayes, the two just missing one other on the 2-point conversion to keep it tied at 28.
Heaton put Plateau Valley in good position to retake the lead after a 60-yard run, but on the next play, Miller fumbled, and Soroco recovered at its own 2-yard line with just over eight minutes to play.
“When you are playing good teams, those mistakes are what makes the difference,” Dudas said. “We did something different that we didn’t do over there, which was hold on to the football.”
Soroco took the fumble and turned it into a 98-yard, game-winning drive, which included an 18-yard completion from Jonas to Eric Logan on third-and-long and ended with Jonas’s wild pass to Hood for the lead.
Plateau Valley wasn’t able to do anything with its next and final possession, Soroco’s defense putting the final touches on their dramatic win.
“The proudest I was, was that drive in the fourth quarter,” Dudas said. “We just methodically went down the field.”
Soroco, 3-4, has one game remaining in its regular season, a Friday matchup with county foe Hayden (1-6) on Friday, in Hayden. The Tigers are coming off a 52-0 loss to highly-ranked Norwood on Saturday.
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