Coach Tom Taucher set a goal for his Rifle High School boys soccer team to have five scores from his defense this season. The season's third defensive goal came at a most opportune time for the Bears as fullback Adam Krick scored a golden goal with 40 seconds remaining in the second overtime against Moffat County for a 1-0 win.
"We came up here and lost last year," Taucher said. "I used that as a warning because I knew they were a hungry team. We didn't play well the first half and had a big maturity check at halftime."
The maturity check worked out when two of the more experienced Bears on the field connected. Four-year starter, David Romero, dribbled past two Moffat County defenders and found Krick, a three year starter, open in front of the goal.
"I can't explain what I was feeling but I just knew I had to take the ball," Romero said. "I got past those guys and when I looked up half my team was wide open at the goal."
The score finished a game in which neither team had more than 10 shots-on-goal. It was the first time the Bulldogs had been shut out in the season.
"We had a rhythm problem for most the game," Taucher said. "But David really came through for us with the kind of play he always makes for us."
The golden goal improved Rifle to 4-1 in the Western Slope Conference and dropped Moffat County to 2-4.
"(Moffat County's) record does not reflect the team they have," Taucher said. "They really showed what they're made of today."
The Bulldogs wish they could stop proving themselves with losses.
"To fight that hard and still be the loser hurts our pride," Bulldog coach Mick Havrilla said. "But we come away knowing we're a good team and that we get them again."
The Bulldog coach applauded his team after the game for holding the top scoring team in the league (four goals per game) to one goal as they had worked on defense in practice Friday.
"We've always focused on the offense and let defense come naturally," Havrilla said. "But we weren't doing a good job of marking so I came up with something for them to think about better defending."
Havrilla said he used the term "tag" to get his players to envision when they are guarding someone that they are close enough to touch or tag them.
"We were 40 seconds away," he said. "Our defense played well all day and then broke down right at the end."
The win keeps Rifle in second place in the conference as it has the same record as Steamboat Springs but the Sailors have an advantage with a 5-3 win. The Bears host Glenwood Springs Tuesday in a rematch of Rifle's 4-1 win earlier.
David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org