Steamboat Springs Finally in a conference and now eligible for postseason play, the Soroco High School football team officially has arrived on the Colorado 8-man football scene.
And with five returning starters on each side of the ball, the Rams are one of the prohibitive favorites in their first year in the Northern Conference Central Division.
But how good are they?
The first test comes at 7 p.m. today at Springer, N.M. — widely regarded in New Mexico as a top-five program with chances at a state title.
“They’re ranked No. 2 in New Mexico 8-man,” Soroco coach David Bruner said. “They started 8-man there when we did here. They were pretty successful last year, and they think they have a shot at it this year.”
Today’s game against Springer, which is coming off a 46-20 win in its opener, was a late addition to the Rams’ schedule. Soroco originally was scheduled to open against Silver State. Because of budget cuts, Silver State cut its athletic programs. Bruner set up the game with Springer and got the Colorado Bar, Flat Tops Ranch Supply, Dean and Susan Rossi and Jim Eskridge to fund the team’s long road trip.
The Rams left at 6 a.m. today for the eight-hour bus ride. Bruner said he’s not worried about how his team will react to the long ride and short prep time.
“It’s part of what we do,” he said. “It’s something you get used to.”
The Rams enter today’s game with many of the same questions the team did when practice began three weeks ago.
The Rams should be solid on defense with defensive ends Ben and David Strait to go along with an athletic group at linebacker.
But Bruner admitted the offense could take some time to click. He’s still undecided about whether to start sophomore Nick Paxton or senior Pie Lombardi at quarterback. Regardless, Soroco won’t stray far from its offensive identity. Bruner said the Rams will open in the spread look, something uncommon in 8-man football.
Bruner said Springer features two quick running backs that his team will have to contain. He said he knows his defense will keep the Rams in the game, it will just be a matter of the offense catching up and keeping turnovers and penalties to a minimum.
“We’re going to find out where we’re at as a program,” he said. “As a football team this year, we’ll find out how good we are. I’ve talked to coaches in New Mexico and people think they’re good. We’re excited about it.”