Huskies smash Steamboat, 6-0
EAGLE-VAIL – The tectonic plates of 4A Western Slope soccer ruptured Tuesday.After years of being bounced around by Steamboat Springs, the Huskies have turned the tables on the Sailors. Battle Mountain pounded Steamboat Tuesday, 6-0, in Eagle-Vail.”Kathleen said to me after the game, ‘Who would have thought the day would come when you beat Steamboat, six-nil,'” Huskies coach David Cope said of his wife. “Six different guys scored goals. There was a shutout. There are so many good things that came out of it. We’ve gone out there plenty of times and seen five or six goals go past us. That’s two wins in a row again them and that’s a great feeling.”Battle Mountain finally broke through against the Sailors last year with a solid 2-0 win at the end of the regular season. While that was big for the program, Tuesday’s win was Earth-shaking.The Huskies jumped all over Steamboat and never stopped for 80 minutes. The Huskies had six different goal scorers. Four of those goals came on one-touches. In an absolutely surreal scene, the entire starting squad, except for fullback Kyle Moore, was on the bench at the end of the game. “Battle Mountain was the dominant team today,” Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said. “It is what it is today. We struggled. We could not get any rhythm, any possession because the whole first half was spent tracking the ball. By the second half, it was difficult to change the tide of the game because we were tired from chasing the ball all first half.”
Another upsetAdding to the seismic confusion was that Moffat County also upset defending champion, Rifle, 3-0. There is plenty of season to go, but right now the road to the league title goes not through Rifle or Steamboat, but through Eagle-Vail.Battle Mountain (4-0 in the Slope and 5-0 overall) is in first place with 12 points. Second place belongs to Moffat (nine points), a traditional doormat, which is clearly turning things around.The Huskies have five points on Glenwood Springs (2-0-1), six on Steamboat (2-2) and a whopping 11 points on Rifle (0-2-1).”This is the biggest win of our season so far,” midfielder Tyler Cole said. “Last year, we beat them right near the end of our season. So, it was still big going into the playoffs. But, this puts us at 5-0 going into Moffat, and the rest of the season. It shows the league a lot about us. It makes a big statement for everybody.”Early and oftenThe rout was on from the beginning. Cole served a beautiful ball from the right corner into the box. Steamboat goalie Jordan Gray got a piece of it, but Antonio Aparicio one-timed the rebound into the net.In the 36th minute, Andy Banner had a good look at the goal, but flicked it to Gustavo Bronfield for a 2-0 lead.The Huskies didn’t sit on their lead for long in the second half. Chris Gavin served it in from midfield to Aparicio. He found Banner, who scored his ninth goal of the season.
Edgar Hernandez was the next Huskies player to find the net. He made it 4-0, finding the top shelf on an assist from Bronfield. Freshman Jose Pavon scored his first goal of the season in the 67th minute.Then came the moment for which the entire Huskies team was waiting. In the final play of the game, Pavon was taken down in the box. He gave the kick to goalie Joel Gonzales, who was playing as a field player. Gonzales’ kick was true and the bench erupted.”It’s like ‘Rudy,'” fullback Kyle Moore said. “Anytime we get Joel up there to score is good. He didn’t get to play the second half in goal, so it’s twice as special.”Huskies show depthSpeaking of Moore, he earned Unsung Hero honors. With Everado Gonzales out with a toe injury, Moore moved from midfield to the back, while Gavin and Eric Garcia filled in at midfield.And, the Huskies didn’t miss a beat.”It’s a great message to the team,” Cope said. “If any one goes down – Juan Barragan is a great player (and broke his arm), Jeff Shadl went down – other guys can step in and play. You need that if you’re going to go into the playoffs. Things happen with injuries, suspensions and red cards. We have a deep squad.”
Moffat nextWhile Steamboat has a nine-day rest before hosting Rifle Sept. 23, there’s no time off for the Huskies. Battle Mountain travels to Moffat Thursday for a 4 p.m. game. Moffat has proved to be tenacious this year on its home pitch this year, knocking off both Steamboat and Rifle.Further, the Bulldogs handed the Huskies a critical loss last year in Craig. With Moffat in second place with nine points, Battle Mountain can’t afford to take their hosts lightly.”The only way to avoid it is to forget that you are 5-0 and make it like it’s the beginning of the season or we’re 0-5 in the standings and that we have to fight for everything,” Moore said.Just for kicksEdgar Hernandez won Man of the match honors for the second time this season. … Josh Ruark went the distance in the net, earning the win. … Cope’s perspective: “It took a hell of a long time for the program to get to this point. That’s the message I would send to Pat Engle and those boys (the Battle Mountain football team) who are working hard over there. There were some tough years here and the boys who turned it around were a special group. And. this is a pretty special group. This is a group that could do great things.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614, or email@example.com.Vail Colorado