Soroco High School senior Alex Estes returns the ball during practice Thursday. Estes is looking forward to a big season after missing the past two because of injuries.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Soroco High School senior Alex Estes returns the ball during practice Thursday. Estes is looking forward to a big season after missing the past two because of injuries.

Soroco 8-man football set for 2nd year

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Soroco football season preview

The Rams start their second season of eight-man football with a game Saturday at North Park.

The Rams start their second season of eight-man football with a game Saturday at North Park.

2009 fall schedule

Soroco High School football

Today at North Park, 1 p.m.

Sept. 11 at Longmont Christian,

7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18 vs. Faith Baptist, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 25 at Nucla, 7 p.m.

Oct. 3 at Plateau Valley, 1 p.m.

Oct. 7 vs. Dove Creek, 7 p.m.

Oct. 16 vs. Silver State, 7 p.m.

Oct. 23 vs. Norwood, 7 p.m.

— In its second season of eight-man football, the Soroco High School football team doesn't hold much back when talking about expectations.

There are eight games on the schedule - starting with a 1 p.m. contest today at North Park - and the Rams firmly believe there are eight wins to be had.

"We expect a lot," Rams all-everything quarterback and linebacker Cody Miles said. "Every game we should win. We think we have a shot at every game. I don't want goals set low. I want them as high as we can get them."

An undefeated season would be Soroco's first since 1968.

While Miles carried much of the load on offense and defense last season, improved numbers highlight a deep and potentially explosive Rams team.

Coach David Bruner said he has the athletes to really open up the offense.

In a scrimmage late last week against Vail Christian, Miles went 22 of 27 passing, hitting just about every receiver he had.

Michael Rossi, Matt Watwood, Alex Estes, Richard Gonzales and Pie Lombardi caught passes and could make for a lethal offense.

The return of Estes - one of Soroco's all-around top athletes - bodes well for the Rams. Estes missed the past two seasons with injuries. Watwood, who will play tight end, also returns after taking a couple of years off from football.

"It sucked. Sitting there watching your friends was the worst," Estes said. "I don't know. I'm just excited. I don't know what it's going to be like. It's going to be fun."

Defensively, the Rams return five starters. But whereas last year Miles got the bulk of the tackles, Bruner thinks the depth and time spent in the weight room will be huge factors this season.

Juniors Ben and David Strait will line up at defensive end. Bruner said the twins made huge strides in the offseason and should take off some of the pressure on the linebackers.

"As a team, we got together and talked about how many games we should win," Bruner said. "The guys are really confident we can go compete and win every game. If we go and play well and not get anybody hurt, we'll have a chance to win every game."

In the eight-man Western Division, Bruner said he expected Longmont Christian, Dove Creek and Norwood to be the toughest competition.

The Rams still are not eligible for the postseason because of their recent move to eight-man football, and Bruner said that's a motivator for this team.

Go undefeated, Bruner said, and some eyes will open up across the state.

"These kids want to prove something," he said. "If they go and win every game, whoever comes from our league and goes deep into the playoffs, our kids will know, 'Hey, we could have been right there.'"

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