Sanford stuns Soroco in football home opener

Soroco senior Spencer Ashley runs the ball in the home opener against Sanford on Friday evening.
Shelby Reardon

OAK CREEK  — With two minutes left in the second quarter, Soroco High School senior running back Kody Logan, blasted up the field for a first down. His longest run of the first half gave the Rams hope that they could complete the drive and score before halftime.

On the next play, senior quarterback Tyler Wixom dropped back to pass. His throw sailed towards the right sideline and Sanford’s Gauge Lewis got his hands on it. The Indians sophomore ran nearly 50 yards into the endzone. The score gave Sanford a 40-0 lead with 1:42 left in the second quarter, initiating a running clock. 

The Rams scored just twice in the game, losing 50-12 in their home opener on Friday.

“They’re a very good team. I think they were ranked fifth last year,” Soroco head coach Johnny DeCosta said. “They didn’t lose a lot of kids (to graduation). If anything, they’re getting better. I knew it was going to be a tough fight coming in.”

The Indians scored in unconventional ways all evening. Junior Kelton Gartrell scored on a punt return halfway through the second. His teammate collected the ball and when he was nearly tackled, pitched the ball to Gartrell who then scored. 

“We need to execute on the little things,” said Wixom. “On offense, defense, special teams. (We need to) just tackle up more on defense, read our keys better on offense.”

Soroco strung together a scoring drive late in the third. Down 50-0, Wixom plowed up the field thanks to key blocks from his teammates. He put his team on the Indians 30-yard line where runs from Kody Logan got the Rams in the red zone. 

With three yards to go, Wixom shoved his body through the line and into the endzone. The quarterback bobbled the snap on the conversion and was tackled, keeping the score at 50-6 at the end of three quarters.

“It is Tyler being Tyler,” said DeCosta. “His running has always been impressive. It seems like his confidence is at a different level this year with throwing. I was very impressed with the way he threw the ball. … His reads, he’s making the right decisions.”

With junior Jed Kirby under center, the Rams rallied for one last drive in the fourth. Kirby kept the ball in back-to-back plays, putting the ball on his team’s 47-yard line. 

Next, sophomore Bradley Hoskinson walked a tightrope along the end line, bringing the Rams into scoring position. Kirby ran the remaining 3 yards into the endzone with 30 seconds on the clock, which continued to tick. The Rams couldn’t get the conversion going before the clock hit zeroes. 

Many players were on the field for longer than DeCosta would have liked them to be, but early-season injuries and other complications left the Soroco roster a little slim Friday.

“A lot of those guys were playing shorthanded with no subs,” said DeCosta. “I think they played their hearts out. They went both ways the whole game, pretty much. I’m really happy with the effort we put in, and honestly, I don’t think we’ll see a team as good as this again.”

Still, despite a tough loss to start the season, the Rams felt lucky to be on the field and still managed to enjoy themselves. 

“I thought I had a fun time,” said Soroco senior Spencer Ashley. “I’m really proud to be out here. I’m thankful we can be playing here instead of in the winter. I’m counting my blessings.”

Sanford 50, Soroco 12
SO 0 0 6 6 – 12
SA 14 28 8 0 – 50
First quarter
SA – Kelton Gartrell 9 rush, 4 run, 11:41
SA – Gartrell 15 rush, conversion failed, 0:16
Second quarter
SA – 1 rush, conversion failed, 7:45
SA – Gartrell punt return, conversion failed, 6:16
SA – Ruben Chavez 40 pass from Josh Holman, conversion good, 2:39
SA – Gauge Lewis Interception return, conversion good, 1:42
Third quarter 
SA – 15 rush, Holman run, 6:42
SO – Tyler Wixom 3 rush, conversion no good, 1:08
Fourth quarter
SO – Jed Kirby 2 rush, 0:30

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

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