Soroco High School football coach Gary Heide's motivational speech has been simple this week.
"We have something to prove," he said.
If the team that upset Meeker in overtime Sept. 30 shows up for Saturday's homecoming game against Plateau Valley, Soroco should win.
If the team that lost to Grand Valley by nearly 40 points Sept. 23 shows up, Soroco won't win.
"We've talked about playing at a certain level," Heide said. "Another rallying cry I'm using is we think we are a pretty good football team, but we haven't won a home football game since August 2004. It's time to get fired up and walk off that field with a victory."
The Rams' futility at home is surprising considering teams often are better at home than on the road, but the key behind Soroco's success isn't a secret.
When the Rams don't have turnovers, they win games. When Soroco plays as if the football is too hot to hold, it struggles. As the chill in the night air becomes brisker, eliminating fumbles and errant passes is even more important -- and more difficult.
"That was one of our things written on the practice schedule," Heide said about fumble prevention drills. "We have to keep working on that. The time you don't concentrate, it will be a problem."
Heide has not seen Plateau Valley play this season, but he has tapes of the Cowboys.
"I think their biggest threat right now is running," Heide said. "We have to concentrate on pursuit and tackling. I know these backs are good enough. If they get through the line (and) if we take plays off, they will out-sprint us."
Team speed isn't Soroco's strength, but few teams have been able to contain the Rams' potent rushing attack. If Nick Rangel doesn't beat a team up the middle, Bryan Spaeth and Johnny DeCosta have proven they can do so on the outside.
If Plateau Valley doesn't adjust to the Rams' game -- something Meeker did not do -- the Cowboys will never have the ball. Nothing chews up clock more than a powerful running game.
The 1 p.m. Saturday game is Soroco's homecoming, so Heide is expecting good attendance. The forecast is for sun and 68 degrees.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org