Oak Creek Soroco's Bryan Spaeth wouldn't want to try to tackle teammate Nick Rangel. Rangel wouldn't want to try to catch Spaeth on the corner.
Plateau Valley had difficulty doing both, as the pair of Rams running backs combined for 277 yards and six touchdowns in Soroco's 47-22 homecoming win Saturday against Plateau Valley.
"I was happy with the way we came out and dominated with our running game," Soroco coach Gary Heide said.
The Rams scored four unanswered touchdowns on 11 plays, building a 27-0 lead by the end of the first quarter. Rangel, a senior and newly crowned homecoming king, had 62 yards and one touchdown in the game's first 12 minutes. Spaeth, a sophomore, had 88 yards and three touchdowns on three carries. Spaeth scored his fourth touchdown on his fourth carry during the second quarter. It was a statistic that drew a laugh from Heide.
"Oh, I didn't know that," he said.
It didn't seem Spaeth or Rangel knew either, though both seemed indifferent as to who had the most carries, yards or scores. For Soroco's offense to work this season, it will take Spaeth and Rangel, and the occasional carry from quarterback Johnny DeCosta or Kane Johnson, to make it work.
"Bryan is definitely quick," Rangel said. "He can cut faster than me."
Spaeth has been a running back since he started football. Rangel, on the other hand, is a converted lineman.
"I think Coach noticed my speed from track," Rangel said.
But it isn't Rangel's speed that makes him one of the top running backs in the Western Slope. Plateau Valley found out what Rangel is best known for when four Cowboys tried to tackle him up high with their arms. He scored on a 40-yard touchdown run with a minute left in the first quarter.
"Nick is the powerhouse," Spaeth said. "He puts his head down and runs over people. I wouldn't want to try and tackle him."
Soroco's win Saturday was the first home win for the Rams since August 2004, and it followed an impressive overtime win at Meeker on Sept. 30. Heide was concerned about how his team would respond after the upset.
"We knew Plateau Valley has the speed and the ability to beat us," Rangel said. "We had to come out with the intensity we did in the Meeker game."
"I think we did," Spaeth said.
Spaeth's first-quarter touchdown runs were 57, 1 and 30 yards. His second-quarter touchdown run was 40 yards. Senior kicker Jesus Garcia was 3-for-5 on his point after tries in the first half.
Plateau Valley's athletic running back Victor Whiteside, who led all rushers with 178 yards, scored the first of his two touchdowns early in the second quarter, but the conversion failed.
Soroco scored the first touchdown of the third quarter on Rangel's 5-yard run set up by a great 15-yard completion from DeCosta to senior Kyle Hendrickson at the 7:12 mark of the quarter to keep the drive alive.
DeCosta attempted two passes Saturday. Both were complete to Hendrickson, who also had an interception. The second completion was good for a 20-yard touchdown.
Windy conditions made it difficult for either team to throw, especially when they took turns working against it.
Of course, Soroco didn't need to throw the ball, but the Rams will continue to work on their passing game before the 7:30 p.m. game Friday at Paonia.
"Against a better defense we will get some play action in there," Heide said. "We will have to."
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org