Steamboat Springs Soroco coach David Bruner's pre-game hope to shatter Faith Baptist's tough defense with a passing attack may have seemed a little far-fetched.
The Rams' biggest completions before Saturday's game against the Pioneers in Longmont were practically jump balls perhaps as easily intercepted by their opponents as they were caught by Soroco receivers.
All Soroco's wishes came true; however, and the squad passed its way to a 2-1 record, beating Faith Baptist, 48-30, on Saturday.
"We really opened it up and threw the ball early in the game," Bruner said. "That helped loosen their defense up."
Junior quarterback Cody Miles pried apart the Pioneer defense with 147 yards through the air. The plan worked perfectly, helping open up rushing lanes that Rams backs took full advantage of. The team had three different backs go more than 100 yards, with senior Ryan Tibbets leading the way with 201 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
Soroco finished with 422 yards on the ground, averaging more than 12 yards per rush as a team.
"Passing the ball was really successful, and it loosened them up. They had been crowding the line of scrimmage, but we worked on passing all week," Bruner said.
Tibbets hauled in a 78-yard touchdown pass early, and Miles added a second scoring pass later, connecting with Jacob Hange.
The big plays helped open the door, and Soroco's backs found ample room to run late in the game.
The team came away with a strong defensive showing, as well. Faith Baptist's final 14 points came against Soroco's junior varsity players. The first string handled a potent running attack throughout the game, holding twice on downs after the Pioneers had advanced inside the 5-yard line.
Miles led the way with 16 tackles and one interception while Mike Davis and Hange each had 12 stops.
"The defense really stepped up," Bruner said. "They had a good team and a big offensive line, but we really played well."
Soroco's big win didn't come without its heart-stopping moments. After taking a 20-8 lead in the first half, the Rams gave up a touchdown right before the break. Things only got worse when they fumbled away the kickoff to start the third quarter. Their comfortable lead was cut to four points just two minutes into the third quarter.
"We responded, though," Bruner said. "After that, we went up, 48-16. The kids really responded well."
Miles also had a big day rushing the ball, going for 117 yards on nine carries with one rushing touchdown. Senior Mike Davis added 104 yards on 13 carries and another score.