Routt County face-off |

Routt County face-off

Hayden, Soroco play tonight

The statistics indicate Hayden should beat Soroco tonight.

Hayden (5-0, 3-0 in league play) has dominated, outscoring its opponents 177-34. Conversely, Soroco (1-4, 0-3) has lost three straight games in which the Rams started off slow and gave up too many big plays.

But when the two cross-county rivals line up tonight, the records and statistics won’t mean a thing.

“It’s not who is better or who is supposed to win,” Hayden coach Shawn Baumgartner said. “The Hayden-Soroco game has always been a good game.”

Soroco coach Andy Reust said it’s imperative that the Rams get off to a fast start. In Sorco’s last two games, Paonia and West Grand scored on their first drives with plays of more than 60 yards. In both of those games the Rams outplayed and outscored their opponents in the second half.

“This is a big rivalry,” Reust said. “If we can’t get going from the start in this game, then I don’t know what game we can do it.”

Baumgartner isn’t about to brush off Soroco. He said the Rams have the potential to make big plays.

“Soroco is one of those teams you definitely have to pay attention to because they are on the brink of putting everything together and winning ball games,” Baumgartner said. “They’ve played everybody tough.”

Last week the Rams proved they are a resilient bunch. After falling behind 19-0, Soroco crept its way back into the game, scoring two touchdowns in the second half to close within six points at 19-13. On their final drive, the Rams lost their two starting quarterbacks but were able to move the ball into Paonia territory. A late fumble thwarted the drive, but Reust said he hopes the energy from that final drive carries over to today’s game.

“The kids are feeling positive,” Reust said. “They know we were right in that game.”

With a game next week against undefeated Grand Valley that could decide the league championship, Baumgartner said he hasn’t seen his players’ focus waver at all.

“I haven’t felt (a lack of focus),” he said. “Nothing has been said about next week’s game.”

Hayden received some good news earlier in the week when senior Dave Gullett was cleared to play. Gullett was hit from behind last week after making a catch near the sidelines. He stayed down for more than 20 minutes and was taken to the hospital for precautionary reasons.

Reust said in a rivalry like this, it’s the little things that make the difference. He knows his team is the underdog, but said he’s confident his team will play hard.

“We’re going to have to play very, very well for us to come out with a win,” he said. “We cannot have any turnovers and we’ve got to create turnovers.”

– To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail

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