Soroco, Rangely prepare to face for the second time in two weeks
Soroco, Rangely to face off for the 2nd time in as many weeks
Steamboat Springs — Nobody would fault the football players who take the field for Friday’s homecoming game in Oak Creek for feeling as though they’ve been here before. It isn’t deja vu, rather a repeat of a game played only two weeks ago in Rangely.
“It’s one of those quirks in our schedule,” Soroco coach Dick Dudas said.
The Panthers traveled to Sedgwick County last week, where the defending state champions handed them their second straight loss in a 62-0 blowout. Since Soroco had a bye last week, this will be the second consecutive time the Rams have faced this same team.
“I don’t expect them to change anything,” Rangely coach Paul Fortunato said. “They handled us easily a couple of weeks ago, and the things they were doing seemed to work pretty well, so why would they change?”
It’s been a rough two weeks for the Panthers, who opened the season with back-to-back wins but have since faced setbacks. During the past two weeks, Rangely fell to Soroco 46-6 Sept. 16, followed by last weekend’s loss at Sedgwick County.
The loss dropped the Panthers to 2-2 for the season, and Fortunato said injuries and other issues have plagued the team.
This weekend the squad will be without several players, including quarterback Devin Ramirez, who was leading the team in several areas. Fortunato said the star quarterback will not return this season.
“There is no question that we are going have to change our approach,” Fortunato said. “But we are young, and we are going to take our lumps, It’s the nature of the game. Soroco has a really good team. I saw it last year, and they were very young, and you can definitely see it this year.”
Dudas was happy his team had time to recover from the bumps and bruises that come from playing the Rams’ style of football week-after-week. The bye allowed his players to recover at the midway point of the season.
The Rams averaged 15 yards per carry the last time they faced Rangely, eventually accumulating 450 yards in the game. The team was led by Jace Logan, with 223 yards on 11 carries, and quarterback Isaac Jonas, with 130 yards on 10 carries.
“I’ve been working on developing our offense the past two years,” Dudas said. “Where we live, the mid-season weather is not conducive to throwing the ball. In this geographic area, you have to be able to run the ball.”
Dudas said his team relies on the run, but insists the Rams are not limited to a running game, adding the team can make adjustments based on situation, particularly if the Rams can control the line of scrimmage.
“Football is like a chess game,” Dudas said. “We use a preset group of plays to tell us what the other team is doing, and then we can make the adjustments we need.”
In the first go around with the Panthers, the Ram’s running game was effective. But the week off has allowed Jonas, the team’s starting quarterback, to recover from a thumb injury that has limited Soroco’s passing game.
The coach’s biggest concern is not the offense or defense, but something he has addressed in practice this week.
“It’s very difficult to beat the same team twice in a season, and it’s even harder to beat them back-to-back,” Dudas said. “I told the players that we can’t become complacent … my minister in church addressed this a few weeks ago, and it was inspiring. He said If a person is not intentional, they will drift toward complacency.”
Something the Rams are hoping to avoid Friday.
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