Soroco football team hopes new depth can pay off

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2013 Rams football schedule

— Soroco High School football coach David Bruner has been coaching football for more than two decades, but while talking Wednesday about the 2013 Rams, he focused on what he hadn’t seen.

They haven’t played a game yet, but this year’s Rams already have proved plenty eye opening. Now, Bruner and his team hope they’ll be able to reel off surprises in more than just the preseason.

“If we can keep the injuries down, these kids, we can win quite a few games,” Bruner said.

Bruner’s confidence mostly stemmed from how many of those kids his team will be able to field. Before shifting to 8-man football in 2009, the Rams often took the gridiron with as few as 14 players. They’ve had between 20 and 22 as 8-man success has helped swell the ranks in more recent seasons.

This year, they started practices with 29, including all 13 members of the school’s boys senior class.

“I’ve never seen that,” Bruner said. “That’s pretty neat. They’re all out, and they’re all sticking with it.”

What it means on the field is depth and competition. Bruner pointed to four running backs who will be vying for carries and eight receivers, only one of whom already has locked in a starting job.

The team has some talented offensive staples returning from last year’s 4-4 team. Senior Matt Regan will take over at quarterback. Ryan Jeep will lock down tight end and likely will be one of the team’s most consistent receivers. Ian Palyo, meanwhile, is back for his senior season as the team’s go-to running back.

They’ll all be operating behind what Bruner said is the biggest offensive line he’s had in his tenure with all three expected starters topping 200 pounds.

All that weight, that skill-position experience and the depth will result in changes on the field as Soroco tilts away from the pass-heavy attack that has defined it in recent seasons.

“We will run the ball more than we have in the past,” Bruner said. “Kids are having to fight for positions, and that’s a lot of fun. We’re deeper than we’ve been the last five years, and the kids are practicing hard every day. If someone isn’t, there’s someone else right behind them that will take their spot.

“It’s been a long time since I could coach like that, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Soroco begins its season at 1 p.m. Saturday on the road at Gilpin County.

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

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