Soroco High School football
Steamboat Springs • 7 p.m. Friday vs. Gilpin County
The scores of the past two matchups — Soroco won by a combined 95-12 in 2011 and 2010 — shows there may be more separating these two 8-man mountain programs than 150 miles of highway. The Rams still have plenty to prove. On paper, the team has the experience it needs at the skill positions — most of last year’s top scorers are back, including senior quarterback Nic Paxton. But the team may be lacking on defense and on the offensive line. Even if it’s another lopsided game, Soroco’s success or lack thereof in Friday’s season opener could say a lot about how ready the team is to compete in the league.
Soroco High School volleyball
• 6 p.m. Friday vs. Beth Eden Baptist
The Rams lost some of the best players from a promising team that faded down the stretch a year ago. Still, they return experience, none bigger than senior Micaela Meyer. A terrific all-around athlete, Meyer dropped hoops a year ago to focus on volleyball. Fans will begin to see how ready she and her teammates are to surpass last season’s accomplishments on Friday night.
Hayden High School football
• 7 p.m. Friday vs. Belleview Academy
It’s a perfect way for Hayden and for Westminster’s Belleview to start the season: Neither has any idea what to expect. The Tigers are making their debut in 8-man football after they made the Class 1A playoffs a year ago in 11-man. They return plenty of key cogs from that team, but can the machine transition easily to 8-man football? One thing’s clear: Belleview won’t be able to exploit the Tigers’ lack of experience. That program is playing the first game in its existence Friday. All that returning firepower — honored with a No. 7 rank in The Denver Post poll — may seem to give Hayden the edge, but consider: Little Snake River High School in Baggs, Wyo., started its football program three years ago, and it's won every Wyoming state championship since.
Steamboat Springs High School football
• 7 p.m. Friday at Eagle Valley
Few teams have struggled as much as Steamboat Springs in recent seasons, but Eagle Valley comes close. The Devils earned their only win of the season a year ago, defeating the Sailors 34-7. Steamboat hopes to snap an 0-21 streak dating back to the 2009 state championship game, and its banking on those years of futility to help. Quarterback Christian Ramirez and his fellow senior classmates have lived that frustration, earning starts and game experience throughout the slide. It remains to be seen what that will add up to in 2012, but the team’s success against Eagle Valley could say a lot.
Steamboat Springs High School volleyball
• Friday at Glenwood Springs
What a way to start the season. The Sailors split a pair of matches against Glenwood Springs a year ago, each team defending its home court, 3-1. That second match was a critical late-season lapse for Steamboat, leaving the Sailors wounded as they fought for postseason seeding. Whichever team wins Friday will have a key early-season leg up in the always-gritty Springs’ rivalry.
Steamboat Springs High School
• Cross-country at Cheyenne Mountain
As always, Steamboat cross-country coach Greg Long has found eager runners for off-season workouts and the groups have been pounding the dirt on trails across the county all summer long. The team kicks off its real racing season Friday with a trip to the Front Range for a meet.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com