Soroco football set to battle for top 8-man spot

Rams face off with Justice Phoenix for opportunity to separate from division

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What: Soroco football (4-0) vs. Justice (2-0) and Soroco volleyball vs. Plateau Valley

When: Football at 7 p.m.; volleyball at 5:30 p.m. today

Where: Soroco High School

— As the Soroco High School football team continues to enter new ground in 8-man football, the chance to do something big is starting to present itself.

Soroco (4-0 overall, 1-0 in the North League-Central Division) has an opportunity to separate itself as the division favorite and get a jump-start on hosting a playoff game when the regular season ends.

But, at least to this point, Soroco faces its biggest challenge when the team plays Justice (2-0, 1-0) at 7 p.m. today in Soroco.

The Phoenix are defending division champs, have won two games by an average score of 53-7 and feature the most athletic team the Rams have seen all year.

“We’ll have to play well to win,” Soroco coach David Bruner said. “This is our next step in our program is to go in and get a big win. It’s a hard game. We have to play all four quarters. We’ve worn down people in the second half. Our guys believe that that is their second half.”

Soroco should be feeling good about itself.

The Rams, who rode their defense for the first three weeks of the season, finally put things together offensively last week.

In a 41-7 win at Vail Christian, Soroco churned out 435 yards of offense. Soph­omore Nic Paxton continued to progress as quarterback, finishing 8 of 12 passing, for 182 yards and a touchdown against no interceptions. He also ran 12 times for 103 yards, just one of eight Rams to get a carry.

The biggest key offensively, though, was that Soroco turned the ball over only once.

“We put 40 (points) up,” Bruner said. “When we keep turnovers down, that’s what you can do.”

Soroco’s stout defense — giving up just 13 points a game so far — will face its toughest test.

Justice running backs Iaian McGhee (406 yards, six touchdowns) and Esteban Cevallos (210 yards, four touchdowns) could present problems.

Keeping those two corralled and stopping big plays in general — Justice had four rushing touchdowns of more than 45 yards and a 95-yard touchdown pass last week in a 54-6 win against North Park — will be central to Soroco’s coming away with a win and its hopes of a North League-Central Division title.

“This is a big game for us,” Bruner said. “These kids haven’t been in a situation like this. We’re really playing for something. We feel good about the game plan. We just have to come out and execute.”

— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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