Oak Creek Watching the Grand Valley football team execute to near perfection Friday, it was hard to believe the team hadn't won before its game against Soroco.
The Car--dinals (1-3 ov----erall, 1-1 in league) defeated the Rams, 47-6, in Oak Creek behind 375 yards in total offense and 27 points scored off Soroco turnovers.
Missed tackles and fumbles didn't help the Rams' cause, but the Cardinals' ability to mix the run and pass kept Soroco (2-2 overall, 0-2 in league) off balance defensively all night.
"They started throwing the ball, and we couldn't stop it," Soroco coach Gary Heide said.
The game might have followed a different storyline, however, had the Rams capped off an impressive first-quarter drive with a touchdown.
Behind the legs of senior Nick Rangel and juniors Johnny De----Costa and Bryan Spaeth, Soroco drove from its 41-yard line down to Grand Valley's 9-yard line as time expired in the first quarter.
The Rams were moving the ball with ease and were poised to score when the ball was fumbled away on the first snap of the second quarter. The Cardinals recovered, scored in a little more than two minutes and never looked back.
Grand Valley went on to score three more touchdowns in the second quarter, distancing itself, 28-0, as the teams went into the locker room for halftime.
The Cardinals added their final score with no time left in the first half on a halfback pass from senior Justin Busch to wide-open senior Daniel Chaffin in the back of the end zone.
The completion prompted Busch to fall to the ground in what looked to be equal parts excitement and relief, as the formerly winless Cardinals capped off a flawless second quarter.
"The second quarter was the best quarter we've played this year," Grand Valley coach Mike Johnson said. "I didn't think we came out with great energy (Friday night). We've had a rough season. We've been going through a phase of 'woe is me.'"
Two of the Cardinals' three losses were to larger Class 2A schools. The third was to Paonia, who is the front-runner to win the Western Slope League after defeating Hayden, 29-22, on Friday. In those losses, Grand Valley lost leading tackler and rusher Danny Manzanares and several other players to injury.
"We finally forgot about the previous weeks and moved on," Johnson said.
The Rams opened the third quarter at the Cardinals' 47-yard line after two-straight unsportsmanlike penalties from Grand Valley after the kickoff. Soroco stalled out at the Grand Valley 30-yard line when DeCosta threw an interception to Chaffin on what was fourth-and-long anyway.
The Cardinals added another score with 2:33 left in the third on senior Adam Johnson's 2-yard run, making it 34-0.
The Rams, whose run-oriented offense isn't designed to come from behind, got a quick score with 35 seconds left in the third when DeCosta hit junior Kane Johnson on a 10-yard pass that Johnson turned into a 55-yard scoring completion.
Heide, who said he knew Grand Valley was better than its 0-3 record, had called a timeout right before the touchdown pass.
"It was a play we had worked on all week," he said.
Senior Jesus Garcia, who was injured earlier in the game, missed the extra point.
Grand Valley pulled its starters with 5:56 left in the fourth, but its reserves moved the ball with success, as well.
Backup backs William Waugh, a freshman, and Jesse Selby, a sophomore gained 40 yards on the final scoring drive of the game. Waugh tacked on the final points on a short 2-yard run with 1:11 left.
Rangel, Soroco's leading rusher, was held to 65 yards on 11 carries.
"The key (Friday night) was stopping Rangel," Johnson said.
Up next for Soroco is a 7:30 p.m. game Friday against Meeker.