Saturday, September 4, 2004
It didn't take long for Soroco's defense to set the tone in its first football game of the season Saturday against the Rifle Bear's junior varsity team.
On the Bear's first series, Ram Nick Rangel stripped the ball from Rifle running back Keith Fraser. The Bears recovered the ball, but never were able to get the offense back on track in the 8-0 loss to the Rams.
"The defense is the strength of our team," Soroco linebacker Whit Gates said. Gates had a second-half interception and was a major part of a defense that only surrendered one first half first down and didn't allow the Bears to score a touchdown.
"I think the key to this game was that, for 48 minutes, our kids never let down," coach Gary Heide said.
The Rams maintained their focus through a storm that soaked the field with driving rain and plummeted temperatures nearly 15 degrees during the game.
"It was football weather," Gates said after the game. "I don't think it changed anything for us."
The Rams scored the only touchdown of the game after starting a drive on their own 35-yard line. Matt Iacovetto capped off the eight-play drive by diving into the end zone from two yards out.
Soroco lined up for the point after touchdown, but a Rifle penalty made going for the two-point conversion too tempting to pass up.
Ben Montoya made the gamble pay off by completing the conversion and giving the Rams the 8-0 lead. It was all the defense would need to secure the win.
In the second half, big defensive plays and offensive mistakes characterized both teams.
Soroco managed to put together an 11 play, 60-yard drive in the third quarter that gave them the advantage in field position. However, penalties and a sack on fourth down and long killed the drive.
In the closing minutes of the game, Soroco got another golden opportunity to score when Rifle muffed a punt and surrendered the ball at the 10-yard line. However, the Rams failed to score. Rifle got the ball back with less than a minute remaining and 90 yards from the tying score.
"This game was all about field position," Heide said. "They didn't move the ball against our defense all day, so I was pretty confident that they were not going to be able to go the length of the field in the closing minutes."
The Rams are now 1-0 for the season and will face the Battle Mountain junior varsity team Saturday in Vail.