Soroco opens league play Friday |

Soroco opens league play Friday

John F. Russell

— Soroco scored even when it didn’t try.

Leading 22-0 at midfield, with just over a minute remaining in the first half of their Sept. 7 game at Viking Stadium, Heide said the Rams called on fullback Jack Means to run out the clock.

Rushing up the middle on basic play calls, Means led Soroco down the field. With 17 seconds left, coach Gary Heide had little choice but to punch the ball across the goal line. One Dustin Neelis extra point later, the Rams went into the locker room with a 29-0 lead, which Heide said caught him slightly by surprise.

“It turned out to be a physical game that we won handily,” he said. “I knew we would compete against Center and I knew we had a chance to win but I didn’t think we’d win that easily.”

Soroco went on to score 36 points before the Vikings got on the board with a fourth-quarter touchdown. The conversion attempt failed as the Rams went on to win 36-6, improving to 1-1 on the season.

“That was a huge confidence booster,” Heide said. “I thought our kids did real well executing the plays defensively and offensively.”

Soroco amassed 344 yards offensively Saturday compared to the 95 it compiled against Rifle’s junior varsity team in its 27-3 loss on Aug. 31.

Led by junior Trevor Ellis, Soroco turned to its running game on Sept. 7 to continue easing junior quarterback Kory Babcock into his role. Babcock only attempted four passes against Center, completing two for 18 yards and one touchdown.

Ellis, meanwhile, racked up 141 yards on nine carries, highlighted by a 70-yard touchdown run. He was just one of a handful of Rams to have success out of the backfield Saturday. Senior Josh Iacovetto, Soroco’s primary ball handler, rushed 19 times for 73 yards and one touchdown. Neelis had two carries for 74 yards; one a 71-yard touchdown run on a reverse. Means had 40 yards on seven carries.

Still, with his team opening up league play at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 13 at Grand Valley, Heide realizes the importance of a more balanced attack. Soroco didn’t have to throw the ball against the Vikings. It will come up against opponents with less porous defensive units.

“We’ll have to be somewhat successful in passing, and I really believe that will happen,” Heide said. “(Kory’s) adjusted very well. It’s amazing that he’s run the offense so well these two weeks. This week we’ll try to step forward in our passing game.”

Defensively, the Rams provided its offense with the perfect scenario: timely turnovers that created short-field situations and easier scoring opportunities. Means recovered one fumble. Neelis had two interceptions and junior Joel Manzanares had one.

“It was a huge win,” Heide said. “I had one young man say it sure is fun to talk about the game when you win it. It’s really what we needed, knowing they can perform. If they go out and play football, good things will happen.”

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