Soroco’s Pie Lombardi pulls in a pass from Nic Paxton near the end zone. Lombardi’s catch set up a touchdown by Paxton a few plays later helping the Rams collect a 27-6 victory against Plateau Valley.

Photo by John F. Russell

Soroco’s Pie Lombardi pulls in a pass from Nic Paxton near the end zone. Lombardi’s catch set up a touchdown by Paxton a few plays later helping the Rams collect a 27-6 victory against Plateau Valley.

Soroco football picks up 3rd win

Rams pull away from Cowboys

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Soroco defender Pie Lombardi returns a first half interception during the Rams 27-6 victory against Plateau Valley on Friday night.

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Soroco defensive lineman Joey Anderson forces Plateau Valley quarterback Cade Castro out of the pocket in Friday night's game. Soroco won the game, 27-6.

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Soroco's Jacob Hange forces a fumble by Plateau Valley quarterback Cade Castro in the second half of Friday night's game in Oak Creek. The Rams went on to win the game, 27-6, and improve the team's record to 3-0 this season.

— The Soroco High School football team picked up its third win of the season Friday night thanks to a hard-hitting defensive performance and 21 points in the final 18 minutes of play from the offense.

The Rams topped the Plateau Valley Cowboys, 27-6, in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated.

“We started off a little slow, but during the second half, we were able to adjust,” linebacker Jacob Hange said. “We knew that they were going to be a physical team, so we knew we needed to hit them harder so that we could wear them down.”

Plateau Valley quarterback Cade Castro put the Cowboys on the scoreboard first by throwing a 14-yard touchdown pass to Ted Grundy with 1 minute, 21 seconds left in the first quarter. The short scoring drive was set up by a Soroco turnover on the team’s own 14 yard line.

The Rams answered on the team’s next possession with a 12-play scoring drive. Soroco quarterback Nic Paxton hit Pie Lombardi with a short pass to the flat and the senior ran it into the end zone. The extra point was blocked, leaving the score tied at 6. The game remained tied well into the second half.

Hange said despite being tied with just more than five minutes left to play in the third quarter, the Rams never panicked.

“We were not really concerned,” Hange said. “The last couple of games we’ve been starting really late … we knew what we had to do, and we did it.”

The Rams got some help thanks to a couple of big defensive stops. Lombardi came away with a first-half interception that ended a Cowboys drive, and Joey Anderson recovered a fumble inside the Rams 10 yard line to stop another Cowboys scoring threat. Hange had two fumble recoveries in the second half. He also had 34 yards rushing in the game. Paxton completed 10 passes on 25 attempts for 120 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams quarterback also ran for another score. The Rams got touchdowns from Lombardi, A.J Anderson, Paxton and Ben Strait, who caught a pass from Mike Rossi on a trick play in the fourth quarter. Paxton hooked up with Anderson for a two-point conversion. Anderson also kicked an extra point. Plateau Valley blocked two extra-point attempts.

“We just wore down,” coach Dave Bristol said “They’ve got a few players that have been on the field for four years. I’ve got three kids that have been playing high school ball. I’m a little disappointed in the way we played at the end, but I told a parent over there that I will take this.”

Castro, who rushed for 41 yards on 10 attempts and threw for 122 yards, led the Cowboys on offense. But in the end, the turnovers and injuries doomed Plateau Valley’s upset bid.

“You can’t turn the ball over like we did,” Bristol said. “If you do, you are going to get punished.”

The Cowboys lost Lucas Dalley, who had an interception in the first half, to a neck injury midway through the third quarter. Dalley was transported by ambulance as a precaution. The team also lost Castro in the fourth quarter.

“We could have lost the first two as easily as we have won them,” Soroco coach David Bruner said. “We made some plays to win those games at the end. I’m proud of the kids for getting the job done. It’s nice to be 3-0. ”

The Rams will play Vail Christian in the first league game of the season at 7 p.m. Friday at Eagle Valley.

“It should be a tough game. It should be pretty physical, and we will see what happens,” Bruner said.

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