Soroco loses league opener to Meeker

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Coming off a thrilling overtime win last week against Saratoga, Wyo., the Soroco Rams were looking to stick to their offensive guns - an effective, smash-mouth attack on the ground - in their Friday game against league rival Meeker. But despite the Rams' ability to run the ball well in what turned out to be a battle of offenses, big plays and Meeker's balanced offense off set the Rams' rushing, resulting in a 34-20 Cowboys' win.

Meeker showed its colors on its first drive, using the legs of backs Mike Bartucco and Kurtis Dunbar and the arm of quarterback Joe LeBlanc to drive the length of the field from its own 25 and score on a 3-yard Bartucco touchdown.

Soroco answered with a poised drive of its own, distributing rushing carries between Bryan Spaeth, Kane Johnson and quarterback Johnny DeCosta as the Rams methodically moved 69 yards on a five minute, 12-play drive that DeCosta capped off with a 1-yard rushing touchdown, evening the score at 6.

"My line was just killing it tonight," DeCosta said about the impressive blocks his offensive line had for him. "That first drive was a good drive - 4 yards a crack - that's how we like it, that's our kind of football."

As the game was shaping up to be a battle of possession time, Meeker was back on the board three plays later after a 51-yard Joe LeBlanc run set up an easy Cowboys touchdown.

Soroco again came back with a tempered running attack, burning minutes of the second quarter with its three rushers, converting on two fourth downs, but losing a costly fumble on the Meeker 4-yard line.

After a holding call on the Rams gave Meeker some breathing room, LeBlanc took to the air, making a series of key completions that led to a 25-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds left on the clock.

"That last drive at the end of the half really got us going," LeBlanc said.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Rams also got going as Spaeth picked up the ball with time expiring and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown, putting Soroco back 20-14 at the half.

In the second half, the Rams put another quality drive together, which included DeCosta's only completion of the game, a 26 yard pass to David Roberts, and ended in another DeCosta rushing touchdown. Down eight, with eight minutes to go in the game, the Rams could not continue producing the fourth-down magic of the first half. After allowing a final 42-yard running touchdown, the game ended, 20-44.

"Our D had a little off night," DeCosta said. "We'll work out the kinks. I know our team doesn't like it right now, but I'm happy with what we did."

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