Maybe it was the decorated bags of snacks from Ridgeview Elementary students or the pep talk from coach Mick Havrilla during the rain-shortened practice Wednesday but, whatever it was, the Moffat County High School boys soccer team broke out of its losing streak with a 4-0 win against Palisade.
"Man we needed this one," Havrilla said. "We were missing the passion the last three games. They came out and found it again."
The Bulldog jumped out to the lead in the 15th minute when Pepe Loya took the ball away from Palisade goalie Chris Martin and sent it to the net.
Fifteen minutes later, Marcos Quezada made it 2-0 with a penalty kick.
Loya struck again when he took a Brad Hurd throw in past three defenders and into the goal. With a 3-0 lead at half time, most teams would feel pretty comfortable about its chances but Moffat County gave up a 3-0 lead at half to Palisade last year. The blue and white ended up losing that game, 5-4, and Havrilla was well aware of that comeback at halftime.
"We kept the attack on in the second half," Havrilla said. "I didn't want to give Palisade a chance to get that comeback."
The attack moved the midfielders up and allowed Palisade to get some passes past the Moffat County defense. Malcom Hillewaert made his only saves, seven to be exact, in the second half to earn a shutout.
"Malcom was back to himself," Havrilla said. "He had a nightmare of a game against Glenwood (a 4-1 loss)."
Schuyler Hammond added a goal in the 63rd minute to give Moffat County its biggest lead in a Western Slope Conference game this year.
The win improved the Bulldogs to 2-3 in the conference and dropped Palisade to 0-5.
"Palisade has played right with some good teams and we knew they were hungry," Havrilla said. "After the game, one of our players reminded the guys that we knew how it felt to be struggling and not to rub anything in. I was pretty proud to hear that."
Moffat County will attempt to continue its winning streak Saturday when it faces Rifle, the highest scoring team in the conference with a four-goal-per-game average and a 3-1 record at 11 a.m. at Loudy-Simpson field in Craig.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org