If you go
What: Soroco Rams football (2-0) vs. Faith Baptist Pioneers (1-1)
When: 7:30 p.m. today
Where: Soroco High School, Oak Creek
If you go
What: Hayden (2-0) at Grand Valley football (2-0)
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Grand Valley High School
Steamboat Springs A year ago, the Soroco High School football team went into a game against Faith Baptist hoping to unfurl its passing game for the first time.
It worked, to the tune of a 48-30 victory.
Now, 2-0 Soroco again is set to face off against the Pioneers, this time in the Rams' Oak Creek opener, and again the team will look to loosen the game with a fierce aerial assault.
The only difference is while a year ago the team hoped to be able to pass, now it's convinced it can.
"That's the game plan again," Soroco coach David Bruner said. "We want to try to open it up offensively. We have been preparing pretty much the same way."
The development of Soroco's passing game - including Cody Miles' ever-improving arm and a crop of capable receivers - has turned the segment into a team strength.
Miles has picked up 401 yards passing and six touchdowns through two games.
"This year, we have more receivers that are capable of catching the ball, and that just comes from repetitions," Bruner said. "We have more weapons now."
Across the line, the Rams are expecting to see the exact opposite approach.
Faith Baptist had three different backs approach 100 yards on the ground last weekend in a 62-32 thumping of Justice.
Senior Stephen Troup did the most to catch Bruner's eye. He finished that game with 162 yards on 22 carries and is averaging nearly 8 yards a carry for the season.
Soroco survived a 371-yard rushing performance from Longmont Christian's Will Bennett last week, but Troup should offer an entirely different challenge.
"This guy's not very big," Bruner said. "Bennett is a power runner who would run right over you. Troup, he's a small, real shifty back, real quick on his feet with good lateral movement."
After opening the season with two games on the road and traveling for two more games after tonight, the Rams are just happy to have a chance to confront Troup and the Pioneers in front of a friendly crowd.
"Playing in front of a home crowd for the first time will give our kids some energy," Bruner said.
Tigers to battle Cardinals
In a different time and a different season, a Hayden versus Grand Valley football game would have meant a lot more.
The two teams used to hook up every season in the Class 1A Western Slope League, before the Cardinals moved up a classification last season.
The two seasons prior, however, the league title came down to Hayden and Grand Valley, with the Cardinals winning both.
So while the 7 p.m. game today in Grand Valley will have little bearing on the league race for either team, it's not like the past isn't on the minds of Hayden.
"Definitely," Tigers coach Shawn Baumgartner said. "Them being in our league until (they) moved up last year, we've had great battles with each other. A couple of years, it was us and them for league championships. Unfortunately they got both of those. We have a lot of respect for them."
Both teams enter the contest 2-0 on the season. Hayden, fresh off wins against two Class 2A teams, again will be playing up in classification.
Baumgartner lauded the Tigers defense for giving up just 13 points so far this season, and said that side of the ball again will have to be strong.
The Tigers have played two teams that were big up front and loved to run the ball, but Baumgartner said they'll face a new challenge this week.
The Cardinals will be big up front, but they possess a different challenge for the Tigers.
"The challenge is on our secondary," Baumgartner said. "Our secondary hasn't seen a lot of passes. Grand Valley throws the ball more than we've seen."
Offensively for Hayden, Baumgartner was happy with the balance the Tigers had last week in a 20-3 win against Roaring Fork.
Senior Jake Walker rushed for 100 yards and quarterback Graig Medvesk threw for 208 yards.
He said those strong performances - along with strong special teams - will have to continue today.
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