Friday, September 14, 2007
Steamboat Springs The outcome of today's Class 1A Western Slope League football opener for Soroco and Meeker might be determined on the first drive.
At least that's the assessment from Soroco coach David Bruner.
After two weeks of starting slow with the team's new offense, Bruner said it's essential the Rams get off to a quick start at 7 p.m. today at Meeker.
"It's got to start on the first drive," Bruner said. "We've got to make those plays and the kids are ready to do that. We can't be flat, we've got to be ready to go."
Although Soroco lost, 39-8, to Saratoga, Wyo., last week, Bruner said the Rams had their chances.
Soroco dropped two touchdown passes in the first half and had passes bounce off receivers' hands throughout the night.
Bruner said Soroco's mistakes are expected of a young team. The coach has had the Rams working on catching, blocking assignments and tackling all week in practice.
"They're getting better every week," Bruner said "Every week, we've gotten better and that should show up" tonight.
With the game being the league opener for both teams, and the fact that Meeker beat Soroco, 34-20, in Oak Creek last year, Bruner knows both teams will come ready to play.
Along with work on offense and defense, Bruner made sure the Rams watched film everyday before practice.
He said after three days of practice, there's something different in the Soroco team.
"You can tell it in the kids," Bruner said. "I think the kids realize it's league (play) and the intensity is up."
One area of concern for Bruner is the number of players that might actually be able to play.
Wide receiver and running back Alex Estes hurt his knee in practice and the team is waiting on results of an MRI.
And because Soroco has had no more than 16 players at practice this week because of illness, Bruner said the team's depth will be pushed to its limits.
"We're going to have some guys at different positions, but the kids are going to play hard - it's the league opener," Bruner said. "These games, they start counting. We're ready to go over there and repay them for last year."
Hayden at Kremmling
Hayden - 2-0 overall, 0-0 in Class 1A Western Slope League - opens up its league schedule at West Grand (1-1, 0-0) at 7 p.m. today.
Hayden coach Shawn Baum-
gartner traditionally hasn't had success at West Grand, as the stadium usually brings in rough weather.
But with expectations high - Hayden's ranked in the top five of both Denver newspapers - the Tigers are expected to be the top team in the league this year.
"It has been a while since we won in Kremmling," Baumgartner said after Saturday's game against the Steamboat Springs junior varsity squad. "We've got to really focus and get that monkey off our back. We've never played tremendously well over there. We're due and have something to prove to ourselves."