West Grand’s Travis Gore rushes through the Soroco defense Friday as the Mustangs racked up a 52-12 victory against the Rams. West Grand controlled the offensive and defensive lines in the game, and Gore took advantage, racking up five touchdowns on the ground and one passing.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

West Grand’s Travis Gore rushes through the Soroco defense Friday as the Mustangs racked up a 52-12 victory against the Rams. West Grand controlled the offensive and defensive lines in the game, and Gore took advantage, racking up five touchdowns on the ground and one passing.

West Grand tramples Soroco football, 52-12, on Friday night

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— Some of the best news for the Soroco High School football team won’t officially come until May. That’s when West Grand senior Travis Gore will graduate and he can torment the Rams no longer.

Unfortunately for Soroco, that didn’t happen soon enough for the Rams to grab a piece of this year’s division title. The Mustangs, behind a tremendous game from Gore at quarterback, ran past the Rams with a devastating 32-point third quarter. West Grand won Friday night in Oak Creek, 52-12.

“You have to give a lot of credit to those guys,” Soroco coach David Bruner said. “They manhandled us up front, and offensively we couldn’t get anything going.”

Soroco hung with the Mustangs early and could have taken a lead into halftime after recovering an onside kick when the score was knotted at 12.

West Grand halted that drive, however, and pieced together one of its own, taking a 20-12 lead into the locker room.

“Things were bouncing their way and they had us on our heels,” West Grand coach Chip Brown said. “Soroco played hard and did a lot of good things, but eventually we showed we had a little more speed.”

That became very apparent after halftime, when things got crazy quick. Gore ran 94 yards on the first play from scrimmage to make it 28-12. He scored again six minutes later and a third time three minutes after that.

West Grand’s Nick Ritschard returned an interception 45 yards late in the quarter to cap off the scoring frenzy, set the final score and officially sink Soroco.

Soroco was able to move the ball at times. Sophomore Ian Palyo scored both of the team’s touchdowns, one on a three-yard first-quarter dive and the other on a nine-yard romp over the left side.

Still, mistakes limited the progress. The Rams ended with two interceptions and a fumble. They were beaten on the offensive and defensive lines throughout the game, leading to hurried throws on offense and wide-open running lanes on defense.

Gore took full advantage and bled Soroco dry, time and time again piecing together eye-popping plays to gain just enough yards to keep drives alive.

All the more frustrating for Soroco, he proved as difficult to tackle as a tree stump, with even Rams in position for big sacks grabbing hold of him and twirling around like a tetherball before flying off.

“Travis is a great athlete, but we knew that,” Bruner said. “It’s not easy to bring those guys down. They do a great job faking the ball, so he’s hard to keep track of, then when he gets free, he’s awfully hard to catch.”

Saturday’s win ruined any hopes Soroco (5-2, 3-1) had of capturing its district, but there still will be plenty on the line Friday in a home game against North Park. A win would lock the Rams into second place and ensure a home game the following week when they start the 8-man playoffs.

“The kids have to rebound,” Bruner said. “They wanted to win this game and they’re upset, but that’s a good thing. Used to be, they wouldn’t care if they lost a game like this.”

That all amounts to another piece of good news for Soroco.

The bad news: Travis’ little brother Casey Gore is just a sophomore.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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