Huskies Cope, advance to state
EAGLE-VAIL – If you were a Huskies soccer player who wanted a drink of water or Gatorade after Saturday’s state-seeding between Battle Mountain and Canon City, you were out of luck.
All the water got dumped on coach Charry Morris and the Gatorade was doused all over Antonio Aparicio, who scored two goals as Battle Mountain ripped Canon City, 5-1, to qualify for the 4A state playoffs for the second year in a row.
“It’s amazing. I can’t even describe it,” a jubilant Andy Banner said. “It was awesome last year, but to do it two years in a row … Last year, we had to travel and we barely won. This year was just convincing. There was no question on the field about who the better team was.”
“I think it’s definitely a statement for such a young team to have its first playoff game at home in 10 years and, then, to win convincingly is huge for the team,” acting Huskies head coach Charry Morri said.
While the Huskies were having their way with the visiting Tigers, there was also the subplot of the Huskies head coach David Cope. He was suspended for the game by Battle Mountain for violating a CHSAA bylaw during last weekend’s junior-varsity game in Glenwood. In accordance with the terms of the suspension set down by the school, Cope silently watched the game, lying on his stomach on the berm behind the western goal. It was definitely a weird day for Cope.
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“It was 45 minutes before kickoff and I was standing in WalMart with windshield-wiper fluid in one hand and shampoo and in the other, and I was trying to remember what else I looking for,” Cope said by phone after the game. “A friend came up to me a said, “You’ve got to get out of here. You’re just not here.’ It was very bizarre.
“That having been said, soccer a player’s game. The preparation goes on during the week and, when the game starts, it’s usually out of control of the coaches.”
The Huskies were in control all day long, and one of the driving forces for the team was to win so that Cope could coach next week.
“Before the game we said, “We’re doing this for Cope,'” Banner said. “And, we did. He got us here, and we did it.”
“It’s great that he gets to keep coaching. It was a heartbreaker when he first got the news – not being able to coach one of his best teams through the years in the first round of the playoffs,” Juan Barragan said. “So, I’m glad we got the win not just for us, but for him too.
“He handled it excellently. He thought maybe that it was going to put some weight on our shoulders, and we came out there and crushed this team, 5-1. It doesn’t get much better. Cope watched the game, and I’m sure he’s proud of us.”
Cope was and there were many reasons, starting with Aparicio, who had two gorgeous goals. The first came in the sixth minute when Julio Garcia served a great cross from the left side and Aparicio flew through the air and headed it into the net for a 1-0 lead.
“I saw the ball well from Julio and it was just a header,” Aparicio said.
Yep, that simple. Aparacio just makes it look that simple.
“Incredible game by Antonio,” senior Taylor Roach said. “He always knows where the ball is going. So, he gets there and puts it in the net.”
Minutes later, Garcia boomed a corner into the box. Connor Drumm tapped it over to Edgar Hernandez, who slammed it home.
Goal No. 3 was another thing of beauty. Chris Gavin, with possession of the ball in the box, showed a great presence of mind. With the Tigers expecting him to take the shot, Gavin tapped it back to Dane Jacobs who did the honor.
Curt Massey put one in late in the first half for Canon City, but Huskies goalie Joel Gonzales made a gorgeous save two minutes later, which effectively shut the door on any chances of the Tigers making a comeback.
In the second half, Banner got on the board. He fired a shot from the right side and it bounced off a Tigers defender and in for a 4-1 lead. Josh Ruark finished the game with an excellent pass to Aparacio, who, surprise, was in the perfect position to finish.
As the game progressed, Canon City was clearly frustrated and the cards started flying. The Tigers’ Ryan Massey, goalie Jason Sand, Brandon Clasby, Brad Massey and Jacob Henderson all picked up yellows. Aparicio also received a yellow for a collision with Sand. But, by and large, the Huskies kept their cool.
“I think that was all in honor of coach Cope, as well, keeping their tempers under control,” Morris said. “The cards were flying, but we did well to stay composed.”
The first round of the state playoffs must be completed by Saturday. So the Huskies will should be playing Friday and Saturday. The Huskies (10-6) likely will be on the road against a favored opponent, but having won four-straight Battle Mountain figures to be a dangerous opponent.
“It’s huge. This is fun. Your feelings don’t get much better than this – winning the first round and being with all these guys,” Barragan said.
And this team is only getting better.”
Just for kicks: Props to the defense. This from Morris: “Harrison Brown was phenomenal today. Everado (Gonzales) was great. Joel (Gonzales) saved us in net (when Canon City nearly made it 3-2). Kyle Moore as always was super strong and super consistent and Connor’s just like butter – smooth and cool under pressure.” .. And, speaking of Moore, Banner would just like to add, “Kyle Moore is my hero.” Well said, Andy, Moore is doubtless an inspiration for a generation of young Americans. … Speaking of fine, young Americans, the Huskies had a big crowd, which included most of the Vail Mountain soccer team and their parents. Good showing, people. That crowd included VMS coach Mike Morris, who doubtless approved of Battle Mountain’s coaching. Barbara Korgel, Charry’s mom, was also cheering. … Aparacio’s yellow Saturday, as well as those being carried by the Huskies, are wiped clean for the state playoffs. … All three of the 4A Slope’s teams went through state-seeding for the second-straight year. Rifle beat Skyline, 3-0, and Steamboat beat Greeley Central, 2-1.
Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at email@example.com.