Moffat County, Steamboat soccer end season with 2-0 Sailor win
Playoffs still possible for Steamboat team
Craig — They may not have been in the same classification for several years, but the U.S. Highway 40 rivalry between the Bulldogs and the Sailors was alive and well this week.
The nemeses of Northwest Colorado were each determined to finish out the season with a W after coming off 3-2 losses earlier in the week, Steamboat an overtime skirmish against Eagle Valley on Tuesday and Moffat County a defeat in Rifle on Wednesday.
Defense was unrelenting in the first half on both sides of the field, though Steamboat was on the attack more frequently, and the result was 0-all on the scoreboard as MCHS moved into a halftime ceremony honoring the nine senior Bulldogs playing in the final match of their high school careers: Alejandro Almaraz, Alex Arellano, Alfredo Duarte, Jose Duarte, Garrett Ferguson, Luis Lopez, High Turner, Christian Viramontes and Trace Walt.
Teams were geared up for more as the second half began, but the Sailors’ increased ball control was a boon that gave them the prime opportunity to score, and after repeated blocks by Arellano against the Steamboat swarm, Steamboat’s Jack Salyer was able to put his team ahead with a goal 14 minutes into the half.
The Bulldogs struggled to answer back, shooting wide on the limited amount of occasions in front of keeper Andrew McCawley, while the Sailors continued to chisel away at the Moffat County defense, as Sailor Hector Lopez found net to give MCHS double trouble with 12:30 remaining.
“The goals didn’t come easily for us, but we were able to crack it with some good flank play,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “We wanted to end on a positive note.”
Steamboat outshot MCHS 27 to 13, with Arellano recording 34 saves to McCawley’s six.
“They left it all out on the field, which is what I wanted,” Moffat County coach Harry Tripp said. “It’s good that we kept it them, and I think we went out with a bang. It shows good character that they didn’t give up the whole season even when we were down”
For the Sailors, a chance for the postseason bid is still up in the air, finishing 9-5-1 overall and 7-4-1 in the 4A Western Slope League for third place. A decision about the team’s at-large bid for the playoffs is expected this weekend.
On the MCHS side, the game was disheartening after an 8-0 road win against last place Grand Valley on Tuesday — a repeat of earlier in the season — only to have another loss following the blow by Rifle that cemented the Bulldogs in eighth place in the 3A Region 3 division, with a 3-11-1 record.
Still, players drew on the good experiences more than the bad as they prepared to leave the field for the final time.
“I still can’t believe it’s over, I’m gonna miss it,” Arellano said.