Soroco too much for Hayden in Routt slugfest | SteamboatToday.com

Soroco too much for Hayden in Routt slugfest

HAYDEN — Jesse Amrein didn't even enter Friday’s game as the leading Soroco High School football tailback named Jesse, and given that both of the Rams' Jesses play with the state's leading rusher, Jace Logan, it'd be easy to understand if they were all overlooked a bit when it came to pre-game prep for Soroco's cross-county rival, Hayden.

Amrein made a name for himself in a big way, however. The Rams and Tigers, age-old rivals, played their most competitive game in nearly 20 years. Both managed to answer the bell after what seemed like knockout blows. Amrein helped Soroco sustain the hits, however, and the Rams rolled to a 56-34 win on the road in Hayden.

"The seniors who are graduating this year, they've never lost to Hayden. We wanted that to continue and it was pretty special," Amrein said.

Soroco didn't come in planning to show off its tailback depth. The plan was the same as its been all year: Lean on Logan and, on occasion, take advantage of the fact that the defense will be similarly keyed on him to use some other backs or throw the ball.

That worked plenty well early. Logan scored rushing touchdowns on Soroco's first two drives, of 10 and 13 yards. He then passed for another touchdown on the Ram's third possession, connecting with Kendall Hood from five yards out.

In the second quarter Logan rolled an ankle he was already nursing, however.

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Soroco slowed initially, but it didn't stop, and Amrein played a big role in that.

He was the team's starting center until last week, when he was pulled from the offensive line and into an injury depleted backfield. He entered the game with just three carries for 17 yards and one touchdown, 2,100 yards and 26 touchdowns behind Logan, and also being Jesse Koler, the team's second leading running back this season who missed Friday's game with an injury.

Amrein rumbled for a 73 yard touchdown in the second quarter, then a 65-yard touchdown in the third. He finished with 206 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns.

"I mostly wanted to do it to hit people, but the touchdowns were nice, too," he said.

Hayden didn't go quietly, and in fact the Tigers picked themselves up off the deck on several occasions to keep things interesting.

They scored first, a touchdown set up by a 46-yard dash from Daylon Frentress.

Soroco jumped ahead with Logan's three touchdowns and the first of two scores from the feet of quarterback Truman Anarella to lead 24-8.

Tigers' quarterback Garrett St. Clair led Hayden down for an answer midway through the second quarter, rushing in from one yard out.

Later he scrambled 47 yards for a touchdown on one possession, then pulled the same stunt on the next possession from 50 yards.

Soroco led 32-14 at one point, but St. Clair's antics pulled his team close, trailing just 32-28, by halftime.

"We tried to make it interesting and we hung around," Hayden coach Ryan Wilkie said. "Eventually it wore on us, but we're proud of what we did and of our season."

Hayden got back in things one final time when Hunter Hatcher returned a Soroco fumble in the second half.

The Rams rotating running backs proved too much, however. When it wasn't Amrein, it was senior Jonah Jonas, who gained 41 yards. When it wasn't Jonas, it was Anarella, who had 48 yards and two touchdowns.

And Logan came back for part of the second half, as well. He finished with 153 yards on 15 carries with three touchdowns rushing and one passing.

The win could mean more than Routt County bragging rights for Soroco. The Rams are on the bubble for the Colorado 8-man football playoffs. They were sitting No. 13 in the RPI rankings before Friday’s game, and the top-16 teams will make the cut.

Soroco finished the regular season 6-3 and in third place in the Northwest League. Hayden finished 5-4 and in fourth.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9.

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