Rams top Saratoga in OT
Big finish in Soroco football home opener
12 First Downs 6
46-195 Rushes-Yards 32-110
2-2-0 Comp-Att-Int 2-7-2
39 Yards Passing 15
234 Total Yards 125
3-39.6 Punts-Avg. 3-29.6
4-2 Fumbles-lost 4-3
10-55 Penalties-Yards 1-5
SCORE BY QUARTERS
SO 7:13, Bryan Spaeth 1 run (kick failed).
SO 10:04, Kane Johnson 1 run. (Johnny DeCosta run).
SA 5:19, Blocked punt recovery (pass failed).
SA 7:23, Cole McKinney 3 run (David Capozzoli run).
SO Spaeth 10 run.
SO: Spaeth 24-103, 2 TD; Johnson 13-62, 1 TD; DeCosta 9-29.
SA: McKinney 14-69, 1 TD; Carl Remick 12-48; Aron Anderson 9-(-2); Capozzoli 4-(-5).
SO: 2-2-0, 95 yards
SA: 2-7-2 15 yards
SO: Cody Miles 2-39
SA: Capozzoli 1-12
The stage was set – overtime, tied game in the home opener under Friday night lights, the ball ten yards away from victory – and all Soroco senior fullback Kane Johnson wanted was a taco.
“Coach tells us if we get in a good fake to where we’re tackled, we’ll get a taco dinner,” Johnson said. “And I wanted a taco.”
In the second down of their offensive set of overtime downs, Johnson sold his fake and before the Saratoga, Wyo., Panthers could react, senior Bryan Spaeth was already loose on the outside, peeling into the end zone to win the game, 20-14.
The dramatic finish would never have been possible without the Rams defense stepping up during the Panthers initial set of downs where they looked to Cole McKinney to run the ball up the middle.
“He got us down there and I wanted the ball in his hands,” said Panthers coach Heath Hayes.
Led by defensive lineman Dennis Morgan, the Soroco defense shut down McKinney at the goal line, giving the offense a chance to win the game.
“I was just thinking about doing my job, getting my guy, making no mental mistakes and getting the job done,” said Morgan, who recovered two fumbles in the game.
The Rams offense looked poised for most of the first half, grinding away at the Panther defense as Johnson and Spraeth shared running responsibilities, each scoring touchdown to give the Rams a comfortable 14-0 lead.
With 5:19 left in the first half, the Panthers shifted the momentum and got on the board by recovering a blocked punt in the end zone to cut the lead to eight.
“Until we blocked that punt and got our fire, I thought we’d be down 20 before we scored,” Hayes said.
In the second half, the Rams struggled with offensive penalties and the wet field conditions began to take their toll on Soroco’s running game as they lost a costly fumble in the red zone with five minutes to go in the third quarter. Rams coach Andy Reust cited the “growing pains” of a young offensive line that was assembled last week after injuries sidelined key lineman.
The Panthers then capitalized on a bad Soroco punt snap in the fourth quarter that put them in easy position from the Rams’ 22-yard-line to score and tie the game at 14 and send it to overtime.
“We put them on a short field on both touchdowns,” Reust said. “They didn’t ever really drive down on our defense. The D kept us in the game when we needed them.”
Although Reust was frustrated by the fumbles and penalty miscues of the game, he sees potential for development and was happy with the winning result of the thrilling victory that his players will not soon forget.
Soroco hosts Meeker next at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
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The Morgan Creek Fire saw its first containment over the weekend on the west side of the fire’s perimeter. It is 7% contained as of Sunday.