Rams football team could find rival today | SteamboatToday.com

Rams football team could find rival today

Soroco faces off against school with similar history in Dove Creek

— Pride might always rank as the top motivator for the Soroco High School football team.

But there will be plenty of other factors at play today when the Rams travel to take on Dove Creek.

In the Bulldogs, the Rams might find a long-time rival. They also hope to find a little of themselves.

Dove Creek has been the model of success since dropping down from 11-man football two years ago. The Bulldogs made a run to the playoffs last season. They fell in the first roundbut are on pace to earn some revenge this year, having wiped out all the competition they have crossed in 2008.

“We’ve learned a lot in the first couple of years since dropping down. I’m still learning,” Dove Creek coach Ken Soper said.

Soper said his offense was quick to make the adjustment to eight-man football two years ago. This season, the Bulldogs have outscored their three opponents, 148-20.

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A strong and large senior class powers the team. Senior quarterback Jesse Poole has plenty of options, including running the ball with junior fullback Justin Guynes and senior tailback Colten Huskey.

Soper said the team has not yet had to rely on its passing effectiveness, but that in a close game, it could.

Despite the lopsided scores, he said, defense has remained a struggle, one made more difficult by the program’s inability to find eight-man opponents.

Dove Creek already has had to settle twice for playing 11-man junior varsity squads. Although it won both of those games, it had to play with 11-man defenses, which took away from practice time and made some in-game progress meaningless.

“We’re still trying to find a good defense,” Soper said.

The transition hasn’t exactly been smooth for the Rams, either. A low point came last week in a 42-30 loss to Plateau Valley. Injuries and four one-week suspensions before the loss helped eliminate depth, one of the team’s main strengths when playing against smaller eight-man teams.

Soroco would love to get back on track by derailing Dove Creek, but this could only be the first in a long line of big games between the schools.

The Rams are unaffiliated this year, which is their first in eight-man football, but they will be able to join a league after next season. The four-team Western League is likely the one they’ll get.

Soroco handled one of the league’s teams when it beat Nucla last month, and it lost to another last week in Plateau Valley. Dove Creek is in the league, as is Norwood, against whom the Rams will wrap up their season Oct. 18.

“Now we’re getting into the Western League, which will hopefully be the league they put us into eventually,” Soroco coach David Bruner said. “We’re good enough to compete with them, and if we stay healthy, no one else gets hurt, we can play with these teams.”

If you go

What: Soroco High School football (3-2) at Dove Creek (3-0)

When: 1 p.m. today

Where: Dove Creek High School, 525 N. Main St., Dove Creek