Luke Graham's column appears periodically in the Steamboat Today. Contact him at 970-871-4229 or lgraham@SteamboatToday.com.
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Cody Miles won’t be the last athlete from Soroco High School to earn a college scholarship.
There’s been a cultural shift at Soroco. Teams matter again. Games matter again. Most importantly, sports matter again.
Miles is a good case study in that shift. By signing his letter of intent to play football at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Miles showed just how far the Rams have come.
It wasn’t long ago that Miles and the rest of the Rams were on the ugly side of losses. His freshman year, Miles took his lumps. He started as a tight end on that team and got beat up, knocked around and knocked down as part of a losing culture. There were declining numbers and talks about a change to eight-man football.
Two years ago, that change happened.
After that, the Rams football team became relevant again and Miles went on to put up unbelievable numbers.
In the fall, he averaged 350 yards and four touchdowns a game. On defense, he averaged 21.5 tackles a game.
But as Miles and many others will tell you, his success was part of the whole. Miles met with coach David Bruner after his freshman year.
He asked Bruner what it would take to get a college scholarship.
Bruner simply said to get one, Miles would have to do the work. So he did. He led weight room sessions and slowly started turning the tide of athletics in South Routt. When other athletes saw Miles’ success, they wanted to join in.
Fans came back to watch games. Fellow students went to games. In essence, Soroco started to become everything that’s right with small town sports. The culture started shifting.
Winning became infectious.
Game days now feature most of town.
Although Miles was at the forefront, the best thing happening in South Routt has to be the people in place. Revitalizations in sports mean getting good people.
Bruner — who also coaches the girls basketball and track teams — is one those guys. So is boys basketball coach Sam McLeod and Athletics Director Andy Johnson.
They’ve got a clear vision about what high school sports are about. There might not be a better learning tool than sports.
The concepts of hard work and being part of a team go a long way, no matter what profession someone attains after their education.
Miles was there in the beginning, playing on a team and for a school that seemingly couldn’t win. Four years later, he concluded his football career on a 7-1 team that played the entire season knowing they weren’t postseason eligible.
That’s believing in the system. That’s believing in doing things the right way.
And that’s why Soroco sports matter again and why Miles’ signing Thursday won’t be the last time a Ram earns a college scholarship.
— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org