Soroco pulls off thriller on road

Rams down Cowboys in OT

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— The Soroco High School football team got its biggest win in four years with a 34-27 overtime victory against Meeker on Friday.

Junior quarterback Johnny DeCosta said he felt like pinching himself Saturday morning.

"I didn't believe it," he said. "It didn't seem like we played a game."

The Rams improved to 2-3 overall and 1-2 in league play. More important, Soroco pulled off its first upset under coach Gary Heide. Meeker was unbeaten until Friday's game.

"I can count two games a year where we were playing against teams going into the playoffs or at the top in the league and were right at the doorstep, but we never came through," Heide said.

The Rams didn't just walk through the door Friday in Meeker -- they ran through it.

Amassing 382 rushing yards against a Meeker defense stacked against the run, Soroco consumed much of the clock. The Rams couldn't stop the Cowboys from scoring, but Soroco didn't fold when it found itself behind late in the second half.

The Rams converted a fourth-and-10 on their game-trying drive when Levi Gonzales threw a halfback pass to Kyle Hendrickson late in the game. Soroco eventually scored, and DeCosta converted a two-point run to tie the game at 27.

The Cowboys drove down the field but missed a game-winning 25-yard field goal attempt, sending the game to overtime.

"I didn't realize our kids didn't know anything about how overtime worked," Heide said. "They didn't know if they had to kick off, who had the ball and how many plays it was. It was almost comical. I realized I had never talked about overtime."

Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.

Soroco started on offense, scored on a DeCosta bootleg, and Bryan Spaeth made the point after.

"Meeker got the ball," Heide said, recreating the moment. "They got about a 2-yard gain. Meeker fumbled. On tape, Dennis Morgan and Jake Wofford were on top of the ball, and we came away with a victory."

Spaeth led the Rams with 136 yards rushing and one touchdown. DeCosta had 110 yards on 13 carries with two touchdowns. He also threw a touchdown pass to Hendrickson. Nick Rangel finished with 92 rushing yards and one touchdown. Kane Johnson and Lucas Sullivan combined for 40 more rushing yards.

"They were keying off Nick, and that left the outside open for us," DeCosta said. "Our line did an amazing job. It was one of the best games they've ever played."

Soroco's game plan was to put together long drives using its power running game to prevent Meeker from getting too many chances to score. The Cowboys did their damage quickly, but the Rams scored more points.

Friday's win came one week after a disappointing lopsided loss to Grand Valley.

"It was like seven days of the lowest we've ever been to the highest we've ever been," Heide said. "We were more charged up after the Meeker game than I've experienced as a head coach. After the game against Grand Valley, you start to question everything, but you have faith in each other."

Soroco figures to maintain that high level of intensity in its 1 p.m. Saturday game against Plateau Valley. The game is Soroco's homecoming.

"(The Meeker win) got us going," DeCosta said. "We want bigger and better things."

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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