Soroco football team honors team manager in final victory
October 26, 2018
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story used the incorrect last name in the second sentence of the photo caption. Kirby, not Williams, was involved in the car accident on Labor Day weekend.
OAK CREEK — Soroco senior Taylor Kirby is used to standing on the sidelines with the team.
But tonight, she held herself up by a cane on the track, a bucket of flowers cradled in her lawn chair.
“I felt important, I guess, not totally forgot about,” Kirby said, wiping her eyes.
Taylor was Soroco football’s team manager for three years. She traveled with the team wherever it went, started out handing out water, then assuming stat-keeping responsibilities. But, her senior season didn’t turn out as planned.
Eight weeks ago, Taylor’s back tire caught the asphalt on the edge of the road driving into Oak Creek. Her truck rolled over multiple times before coming to a stop beneath the road. A man driving nearby stopped to assess the damage, but a family friend, Kira Ripley, also happened to be driving by and rushed to Yampa for cell service to call the paramedics and Taylor’s mother, Jennifer Kirby.
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“She said, ‘Taylor and Carlen (Kirby’s boyfriend) — they've had an accident,’ and it didn't register with me. All I could hear was ‘they're OK’ and something about blood,” Jennifer said. “So, I was with a friend and she drove us to the accident site, and the whole drive back I felt like I wasn't breathing. I didn't know what to expect.”
Taylor emerged from the accident strapped to a backboard, shouting out to her mom that she was OK, but she had five college classes at school she simply couldn’t miss.
But eight weeks later, Taylor struggles with vertigo, sound sensitivity, hearing and holding conversations with more than one person at a time. A recent MRI showed no brain damage, but the family is left with more questions about her recovery.
Taylor’s brother, freshman varsity football player Jed Kirby, asked team captain senior Jace Logan if there was a chance the team could do anything special for Taylor.
Since the final home game was senior night, the team bought extra flowers. One for their parents, and one for Taylor.
“Can Taylor Kirby please come up?” the announcer said.
Taylor, confused, walked up and hugged head coach Dick Dudas. One by one, every player of the team handed her a flower, some even pausing for hugs.
“I was here at the first home game, then the Friday before Labor Day I was at a shooting event, and that was it,” Taylor said. “I missed it, you know? I don’t know how to explain it.”
The players charged onto the field as the starting lineups were announced.
“It’s different being four years up there with them, and now I’m over here.” Taylor said.
Before the game started, it’s announced that Dudas will retire at the end of this season, after eight years of coaching the Rams.
It was going to be a night the Rams held finite in time, defeating their rival, Hayden, 66-28.
The last time Logan would run up and down a field for eight touchdowns.
The last time Dudas coached on the home field.
The last night senior Jesse Amrein forced a fumble at home.
The last game Taylor will see as a high school football manager.
Soroco jumped to an early lead after forcing a Tigers fumble on their own 25-yard line and 45. Both ended in touchdown runs by Logan.
The Rams would score 24 points before the Tigers got their first score, a 30-yard touchdown pass by junior quarterback Reese Kern to senior Mason Brewer.
Rams sophomore Tyler Wixom got creative with the pass, launching a 29-yard bomb to junior Nick Estes. Logan followed with a touchdown to make it 30-6 at the end of the 1st quarter.
Logan opened up the next quarter with a 93-yard run down the sideline for a 36-6 score, then junior Jesse Koler caught sophomore Tyler Wixom’s pass for the next to make it 42-6. Hayden scored one more and Logan lit the scoreboard just before halftime.
Hayden added one more touchdown in the second half, but Logan’s three touchdowns came with a running clock as the Rams won for the final time on their home turf this season, 66-28.