Steamboat Springs Soroco football coach David Bruner isn't aloof.
He said he's well aware of how his players hate it when he lines them up after every practice and makes them run wind sprints.
But especially after Friday's white-knuckle 38-34 win at Longmont Christian, he's not about to give up on the tried and true practice.
Soroco charged from a 12-point halftime deficit and a three-point fourth-quarter hole. Alex Estes ran in a go-ahead touchdown with six minutes remaining. With Longmont Christian's relentless running attack finally slowing to catch its breath, the Rams defense held tight to secure the win.
"I know the kids don't like that conditioning, but they realized it pays off," Bruner said. "We were tired, but not quite as tired as they were."
Longmont Christian broke open an 8-8 first-quarter tie thanks to the relentless running of tailback Wes Bennett.
Bennett racked up an eye-popping 371 yards on 37 carries and scored all five of the Warriors' touchdowns. He helped the team to a 28-16 halftime lead and seemed to have Longmont poised for the win in the fourth quarter.
"He just had a great day," Bruner said.
Still, Soroco was able to rebound thanks to a halftime adjustment that at least slowed the talented junior.
The Rams began to stack the middle of the line, forcing Bennett outside for yards. The switch in attitude helped change the game. The Warriors scored just six points in the second half, and the Rams began to come back.
Quarterback Cody Miles connected with Estes for a 45-yard touchdown for Soroco's first score, then ran in from 43 yards for the team's second score.
He got in from five yards out in the third quarter for another touchdown and ran a kickoff back 80 yards for another.
He added one final passing touchdown when he found Michael Rossi, who in turn pitched the ball to Jacob Hange for a long hook-and-ladder touchdown play.
He finished 20-31 for 204 yards passing, 116 yards rushing on 16 carries, two touchdowns passing, two touchdowns running and one on the return.
It was Estes, though, who plunged in the dagger. He went 17 yards around the Warriors' line on a sweep to score the final touchdown.
He finished with seven catches for 96 yards.
"The whole group, the whole team, they all fought the whole game," Bruner said. "They all stepped up and made plays when we needed them to. It was back and forth. Kids were cramping up with dehydration. Both teams, all the kids, left it out on the field."