Huskies draw No. 20, headed to Fort Lupton
4A soccer state playoffs
Huskies (20) at Fort Lupton (13), 5 p.m.
Summit County (10) vs. Lewis-Palmer (23), 6 p.m.
Steamboat Springs (29) at D’Evelyn (5), 6 p.m.
Golden (19) at Montrose (14), 4:30 p.m.
Vista Ridge (24) at Durango (9), 4 p.m.
EDWARDS — Never has a Battle Mountain boys soccer team been so happy to receive a No. 20 seed in the playoffs.
As it turned out, Seeding Sunday wasn’t a suspenseful matter. The Huskies were in easily.
“Pleasant surprise,” said Huskies coach David Cope, whose team has had its share of misfortune when the bracket has been issued.
Battle Mountain is at No. 13 Fort Lupton today at 5 p.m.
MEET THE BLUE DEVILS
“OK, where is Fort Lupton?” is probably the first question. It’s northeast of Denver, north of Brighton and south of Platteville. OK, it’s in Weld County between Interstate 25 and I-76, just north of Boulder if Boulder were on the east side of I-25.
Aren’t the playoffs fun? They help one learn the geography of the great Centennial State.
Fort Lupton (11-2-2) is the champion of the Colorado 7 League, which actually has eight teams. Cope jokingly said that he thought the league was named for John Elway.
Attempting to bring some seriousness to this, No. 9 Victor Sanchez is the focal point. He has 21 goals, exactly half of the Blue Devils’ 42 on the year. Genaro Arellano is second on the team with eight.
The result of Fort Lupton’s slate, which grabs attention, is a 4-2 victory over Niwot. That’s No. 5 Niwot’s only loss of the season.
The Blue Devils have wins over Standley Lake (No. 21), Skyview (No. 28), Silver Creek (No. 30), Vista Peak (No. 31) and Thompson Valley (No. 32). Fort Lupton has draws against No. 9 Durango and No. 12 Centaurus.
Today’s game is on a narrow, grass field.
“That’s always a good challenge,” said Cope, whose team plays on the spacious turf in Edwards. “The Montrose game (a 1-1 draw) showed we can play on grass, and the Delta game (a 4-2 win) showed we can survive and get a result.”
Battle Mountain is changing its shape for today’s game. The rest is classified.
The bigger question facing the Huskies is “Who shows up?” Battle Mountain has been very good at times this season and not as good in others during 2014.
Cope said after the season finale, a 1-0 loss to Summit County, “It just seems like when we’re at our best, we’re really good,” which seemed, at the time, to be a plaintive request.
This team has lost to No. 2 and 15-0 The Classical Academy, beaten No. 11 Evergreen and tied No. 14 Montrose. Losses to Glenwood Springs and Eagle Valley raise questions.
None of that matters now. To take a page from Battle Mountain volleyball coach Jason Fitzgerald, “Survive and advance.”
Battle Mountain would love to get David Ortiz untracked. The senior is tied for the team lead in goals with nine, along with Creek Kamby, but has been in a rut as of late.
“These are the games that make reputations,” Cope said. “We’ve seen it happen. What you do during the regular season can be way overshadowed by the playoffs — Kelsey Sanders, Edgar Hernandez, Heivan Garcia.”
For those not fluent in Huskies postseason speak, these are a few who have made their mark in the tournament.
Cope said he has a “free-floating” role in mind for Ortiz. Senior Owen Riley gets the start in goal.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.