Rams run wild on Panthers | SteamboatToday.com

Rams run wild on Panthers

Melinda Mawdsley

— With a convincing 32-6 win against Rangely on Friday, the Soroco football team has assured itself of finishing with a winning record.

The Rams improved to 5-3 overall with one game remaining against Hayden.

“We get another chance to rise to the challenge,” Soroco coach Gary Heide said.

Considering the slew of newcomers Soroco welcomed to varsity this season, particularly at skill positions, a winning record is something Heide said the team should be proud of achieving.

In what has become their trademark, the Rams ran to victory Friday, amassing a staggering 420 yards rushing. Quarterback Johnny DeCosta attempted just three passes.

Despite being a one-dimensional offense, the Rams have found ways to vary their rushing attack, moving opposing defenses back while keeping the opposition’s offense on the sideline.

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It was a tactic that worked in an overtime win against Meeker on Sept. 30, and it worked again Friday. In the first half, the Rams held on to the ball for more than 17 of the 24 minutes.

“Hopefully, we get enough (yards) to get the first down and then pop one,” Heide said about the team’s rushing strategy. “That’s how we beat Meeker.”

It’s how the Rams beat Rangely, as well.

Neither team did much with its opening possession Friday, but a 25-yard punt return from sophomore Bryan Spaeth on Soroco’s third possession set up a 10-play scoring drive that chewed up 5:21 on the clock. The drive was capped off by one of Spaeth’s three rushing touchdowns. Senior Jesus Garcia converted the kick.

The Rams added their second score with 5:58 left in the second quarter on another 2-yard run from Spaeth, who finished the game with 195 yards rushing on 19 carries.

Soroco extended its lead to 20-0 on senior Nick Rangel’s 7-yard run with 6:22 left in the third quarter. Rangel had 68 of his 141 rushing yards on that one drive.

The Panthers cut into the Rams’ lead early in the fourth quarter on a 54-yard touchdown pass from Brady to receiver Kent Slawson. Slawson made a beautiful fingertip catch on a night when it was easy for hands to go numb in the night air.

The Rams responded quickly, recovering the kickoff and scoring on their first play from the line of scrimmage. Spaeth took the handoff from DeCosta and shot through the offensive line for the 54-yard score.

Soroco added insurance points with four minutes remaining on junior Jon Cole’s 48-yard touchdown run. He finished the game with 84 yards on seven carries, giving Soroco three rushers capable of topping 100 yards on any given night.

“Our guard came in and down-blocked, and it was me one-on-one with an inside linebacker,” said Cole, setting up his score. “My eyes got real big.”

Soroco’s offense has received deserved attention, but the Rams’ defense played well Friday, holding Rangely to 171 total yards and Brady to 10 yards rushing.

“Brady ran for 266 yards against Grand Valley,” Heide said.

Rangely defeated the Soroco volleyball team in a tough five-set match Friday, 18-25, 21-25, 25-15, 25-15, 15-10. The Rams played great in the first two games but were unable to win the all-important third game. Soroco wraps the regular season at 3 p.m. today against Coal Ridge in Oak Creek. The Rams (3-14 overall) are jockeying for postseason position in the league standings.