Sometimes, it is better to be lucky than good.
Battle Mountain soccer overcame a stubborn performance by visiting Moffat County Thursday, erasing a 1-0 deficit and winning on an own goal in the first overtime to finish the regular season 12-2-1.
"They did really well," Moffat coach Seth Young said. "I thought we were going to win it. I wish we could have been more offensive in the second half and put more of the pressure in their half of the field. I think the guys got the mindset playing Battle Mountain, 'Let's get defensive.' I think in the end that's what bit them."
One can debate whether it was luck that the Huskies' Marco Ordono's shot glanced off a Bulldogs defender. But there's no question that Battle Mountain dominated the play in the second half and overtime.
"I thought eventually, if the boys kept the faith and kept playing well, that something would fall for us," Huskies coach David Cope said. "I thought their keeper was outstanding today. He made some great saves. He did really well. But in the end, we were so dominant in their end of the field that something was bound to happen."
Lefler leads Moffat
Moffat keeper Mike Lefler nearly stole the show. Playing in his final game, the senior was superlative. He robbed Battle Mountain's Rudy Solis in the first half, parrying the shot over the crossbar. In the second half, Lefler snuffed out another Solis attack.
"Awesome game. That's probably the best game I've ever seen him play," Young said. "Phenomenal. He gave everything."
Moffat's Oscar Ramos staked the Bulldogs to a 1-0 lead with a solid strike from 30 yards out midway through the first half.
On the rare moment Lefler was caught offguard, he got some help. Moffat defender Tucker Bilodeau put his body between the Huskies' Francisco Villas and an open net to preserve Moffat's 1-0 lead in the second half.
But as Cope foresaw, the Huskies' pressure was going to bear fruit eventually. Uvaldo Trujillo took a pass from Ricky Luevanos in the 72nd minute and finally cracked Lefler.
"It was great. I've had a really bad season, but I guess I'm getting my form back," Trujillo said. "It was a pass from Ricky Luevanos. I didn't really think it was going to get to me. There were some people on me. I shot over the keeper with my left."
"It's a great story for Uvaldo because he's had some tough times this year," Cope said. "He came off the bench today. He played really well. It's a good lesson for all of our kids of perseverance. We've got a lot of sophomores who could be great players."
Going into a golden-goal situation in overtime, the Huskies kept up the heat. Luevanos to Ordono and an unfortunate own goal ended it, sending the Huskies tumbling onto the field and with some momentum for the postseason.
Moffat finished the season with a 4-10-2 record, a step in the right direction after a 2-12-1 campaign in 2006. The Bulldogs logged a win against playoff-bound Eagle Valley and tied rival Steamboat Springs as well.
"I think it was a big improvement over last year," Young said. "I think the kids can walk away feeling good about themselves. It's a good thing to build on. Today, we had five freshmen on the field today."
Battle Mountain now gets online. The Huskies will find out their playoff draw Sunday from chsaa.org. Battle Mountain is ranked No. 7 in the state and has been between Nos. 6 and 8 all season.
"I think there's a case to be made for Battle Mountain in the sense that there was pressure on this team to repeat," Cope said. "There was pressure on this team all year being a top-10 team. We never dropped out of the top 10 all year. We lost to two teams (Cheyenne Mountain and Montrose) that were in the top six when we lost to them. You look around the state and 12 wins stands out pretty well with most people."