'Now or never'

Pressure's on for Soroco seniors

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For most of his high school career, Soroco football player Will Ford has been looking to the future.

But things are different for Ford and seven of his teammates this season -- they're all seniors, and the future is now.

"I think we are more confident this year," Ford said. "In the past, we've always talked about next year, or the next year or the next. But for us it's now or never."

Ford is hoping that the team, which finished 1-8 last year and failed to win a league game, will change its fortunes in 2003.

His spirits were lifted after 29 players came out for the team's first practice of the season Aug. 11 including eight seniors who have played together since they were in junior high.

"I feel a lot more comfortable this year," senior quarterback Cory Babcock said. "I'm recognizing the defense a lot faster and I feel a lot more confident in the pocket."

Soroco coach Gary Heide said he was hoping to use Babcock's speed and his arm to spark the Rams' offense this season.

"Cory's confidence level is way up, and we are hoping to use his skills a little more than we did last season," Heide said. "Our whole team seems a lot more confident, and we are hoping they can come together this season."

Babcock said most of the senior players spent the summer going to camps and working hard to improve on last year's effort. He thinks it will show on the field this year. He thinks the Rams will contend for one of the four playoff spots available in the Western Slope's 1A conference this season.

Heide wasn't ready to make any long-range predictions, but he said with seniors in all of the skill positions he thinks the team can be competitive.

"A lot is going to depend on how our younger players develop on the line," Heide said.

Returning seniors such as C.J. Remick, Jack Means, Ford and Babcock are counting on those younger players to step up when the season begins.

"We are helping out everybody we can in practice," Remick said. "If anyone needs help, the seniors are there."

Ford said there is a sense of urgency on the team this season and he is optimistic that if the players can stay healthy, the Rams can win. He said the team already is looking forward to games against Hayden and Plateau Valley, but after winning just one non-league game a year ago, he knows how important every game will be to this team.

-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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