Soroco football to battle for 1st |

Soroco football to battle for 1st

Football team faces West Grand at 7 p.m. today in Kremmling

The Soroco High School foot­ball team's biggest enemy this season has been the one looking back in the mirror every morning, turnovers and mistakes having doomed the team in its only loss. But if the Rams are to win their first conference title in this, their first season of 8-man conference eligibility, they may need to beat the team looking back from last year's photo albums, as well.

When the Rams travel for a 7 p.m. game today against West Grand High School in Krem­­mling, they'll find a team eerily reminiscent of the one they fielded in the past two years, a determined and talented squad that's found much smoother sailing in the 8-man ranks after a run of 11-man futility.

The championship of the Central Division of the North Conference will be up for grabs on the field tonight.

"It will be a great matchup," Soroco coach David Bruner said. "They have a lot of talent and have really been able to put points on the board. We've been looking forward to this game."

Soroco dropped to 8-man football for the 2008 season after struggling for years to remain competitive. Although too-high enrollment numbers left the Rams ineligible for postseason play for 2008 and 2009, the move yielded immediate results. The team unlocked the new style of football in 2008 and then, with star seniors, stomped through the 2009 schedule, going undefeated into the final game of the playoff-less year.

West Grand, too, seems to have the right athletes ready. Unlike Soroco, however, it was immediately eligible to compete in a conference and for the playoffs and wasted no time in doing so.

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After struggling to a 2-7 finish last year in 11-man football, the program ripped off a 5-1 start to the 2010 season.

Its only loss came in September to last year's state championship runner-up, Dayspring Christian. The Mustangs opened their run in the Central Division with a 57-6 victory against Gilpin County and stayed perfect last week with a crucial 58-38 win against Justice, the only team that's beaten Soroco.

"Some of the parents were hesitant at first, but the kids have really enjoyed the success they've earned," West Grand coach Chip Brown said.

The Mustangs lead the division, but Soroco can force what likely would be a three-way tie at the top with a win tonight.

On the field, it will be a matchup of West Grand's top-flight offense against Soroco's stout defense.

West Grand has not been held to fewer than 36 points this season and has averaged nearly 55. It overwhelmed Justice with that attack, racking up more than 550 yards of offense.

Quarterback Travis Gore leads the team, which has overcome an injury to its top running back in the season opener. Gore has racked up 850 yards passing and 850 more rushing.

"He was the tailback when we ran out of the I the last couple of years, and he's really done well since we went to the spread this year," Brown said.

He's going against a thoroughly tested Soroco defense tonight. The Rams have given up just 12.66 points per game this season and stuffed a tough Justice attack that scored 38 points against West Grand.

"Their offense is really strong. Our defense is really strong," Bruner said. "The team that makes the fewest mistakes on offense and doesn't turn the ball over will win."

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