Soroco High School sophomore Ian Palyo rumbles through the line with the help of a block Friday. The Rams broke open what had been a close game with Vail Christian, pulling away from the Saints in the second half to improve to 3-1 on the season.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Soroco High School sophomore Ian Palyo rumbles through the line with the help of a block Friday. The Rams broke open what had been a close game with Vail Christian, pulling away from the Saints in the second half to improve to 3-1 on the season.

Soroco football rallies back for win on homecoming night

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— It wasn’t the start anyone had expected. But through 12 minutes of play, the Soroco High School football team had more penalties (four) than first downs (zero) and looked completely lost against Vail Christian on homecoming weekend in Oak Creek. 

But alas, it’s never how it starts. It really just matters how it’s finished. 

Soroco scored on four of its seven second-half possessions and got a stat-filled evening from quarterback Nic Paxton, eventually winning, 34-20.

“I knew they were a good team and it would be a good game because they had quite a bit of speed,” Soroco coach David Bruner said. “I thought if we could stay close in the second half we’d be fine because our conditioning is really good. These kids have been there before. But that first half, I can’t tell you what happened.”

Saints junior quarterback Austin Ellsworth had the first say of things, however. He scampered in from a yard out midway through the first. The 2-point conversion made it 8-0. 

Finally, with 8 minutes, 56 seconds left in the first half, Paxton found Matt Regan from 25 yards out. The ensuing 2-point conversion tied it at 8.

It was an ugly first half. Neither team could do much. Vail Christian had 110 total yards to 93 for Soroco.

The Rams got the ball to start the second half and got a pair of Paxton touchdown runs on successive drives to make it 20-8. 

“We took (the first half) personal and came out and smacked them in the mouth,” said Paxton, who threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to running for 72 yards and three more scores. 

Paxton scored to open up the fourth quarter, this time on a 22-yard run to make it 28-8. 

Ellsworth bookended touchdown passes around an 86-yard pass from Paxton to sophomore Ryan Jeep for the final. 

“We made some plays in the second half and our line did a good job that second half,” Bruner said. “We came out and played well. It was a big win for us. A lot of people felt like that team could finish high in our league.”

Soroco next plays at 7 p.m. Friday at Justice.

Game statistics

Soroco 34, Vail Christian 20

Soroco

First Downs 12

Rushes-Yards 45-149

Comp-Att-Int 7-14-1

Yards Passing 235

Total Yards 384

Punts-Avg. 4-41

Fumbles-lost 2-0

Penalties-Yards 12-127

Vail Christian

First Downs 11

Rushes-Yards 24-128

Comp-Att-Int 8-23-0

Yards Passing 115

Total Yards 243

Punts-Avg. 4-36

Fumbles-lost 4-2

Penalties-Yards 10-80

■ Score by quarters

Soroco 00-08-12-14—34

Vail Christian 08-00-00-12—20

■ Scoring summary

First quarter

VC: 6:47, Austin Ellsworth 1 run. (Nigel Johnson from Ellsworth). 

Second quarter

S: 8:56, Matt Regan 25 pass from Nic Paxton. (Richard Gonzales from Paxton). 

Third quarter

S: 10:52, Paxton 1 run. (Pass fail). 

S: 7:28, Paxton 8 run. (Pass fail). 

Fourth quarter

S: 11:43, Paxton 1 run. (Ryan Jeep from Regan). 

VC: 11:24, Cole Caynoski 64 pass from Ellsworth. (Pass fail). 

S: 10:24, Jeep 86 pass from Paxton. (Pass fail). 

VC: 9:14, Branden Currey 12 pass from Ellsworth. (Pass fail).

■ Individual statistics

Rushing

VC: Ellsworth 8-51, 1 TD; Mack Cooper 10-50, Johnson 4-17, Caynoski 1-5, Mike Lange 1-5. 

S: Regan 7-10, Ian Palyo 13-52, Gonzales 7-15, Paxton 18-72, 3 TD. 

Passing

VC: Ellsworth 8-23-0, 115 yards, 2 TD. 

S: Paxton 7-13-1, 235 yards, 2 TD. Regan 0-1-0. 

Receiving

VC: Caynoski 3-85, 1 TD, Cooper 2-13, Currey 2-13, 1 TD, Johnson 1-3. 

S: Regan 2-31, 1 TD; Gonzales 3-68; Jeep 1-86, 1 TD; AJ Anderson 1-55.

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