Rough season doesn’t deter Moffat County soccer from looking forward

Moffat County soccer players perform a team chant before their game with Aspen Saturday, Oct. 15.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

There’s no way around the fact that this fall has been a trying one for the Moffat County boys soccer program.

Still, as the Bulldogs coach and athletes call it a season, they know all the tough moments they’ve experienced this year have only made them stronger. MCHS soccer wrapped its schedule with a final record of 1-13-1, most recently suffering a 10-0 defeat on Oct. 20 to the Roaring Fork Rams.

The game was initially scheduled to serve as senior night, but MoCo didn’t have any seniors on the roster.

“We’ve got a young team — no seniors, no sophomores. I have nine juniors and 10 freshmen,” said coach Diego Quezada. “It’s a young but worthy depth chart.”

The abundance of juniors means Quezada will have numerous seniors next fall. Among them will be Jerman Aguilar, who was thrown into the role of starting goalie after some shuffling around at the start of the fall. A small bench has been an issue all season for the Bulldogs, as well as injuries.

“Whenever some of my starters are out, it really shows,” the coach said. “It’s hard to fill some of those gaps.”

Now in his third year coaching, Quezada has seen his share of struggles in the challenging conference.

Moffat County goalie Jerman Aguilar comes up with a save against Aspen Saturday, Oct. 15.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

This year has been no different. Defending state champion Roaring Fork was upended for the Class 3A/2A Western Slope League title by Coal Ridge, and both teams were regularly ranked in the top 10 among 3A teams and will be hosting playoff games this week.

Likewise, Vail Mountain went into the 2A playoff bracket this week as the top seed.

Of the nine teams in the league, six went into the postseason, and the Dogs also faced two other playoff teams this year.

Many of the games this season ended by mercy rule, though the Dogs also collected a 5-0 win and a 3-3 draw when facing Caprock Academy. Though they fell twice to Delta, the first result was 6-0 before Moffat County improved to 3-0 in the rematch.

Moffat County’s Alejandro Tarango throws the ball in as the Bulldogs face Aspen in a boys soccer game on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

“Those games are always fun and competitive, but other times we’re against a top 10 team,” Quezada said.

One of the more frustrating losses was a 10-0 blowout to Aspen, which finished 3-10-2.

“They’re ranked right above us, and they still blew us out, so that tells you how tough this league is,” he said.

Quezada also runs a spring club soccer program involving many of the same players. He noted that he hopes to focus more on keeper training in preparation for next year.

Moffat County’s Angel Loya swoops in for the ball during a boys soccer game against Aspen on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Craig.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press

“It’s about getting the wheels forward and going in the right direction,” he said.

Quezada also hopes to find more athletes next year, whether they are freshmen or older.

“Don’t be afraid,” he said to potential players. “There’s playing time for everyone, and you can really prove yourself on this team.”

Moffat County soccer players pursue the ball in front of the Aspen goal Saturday, Oct. 15.
Andy Bockelman/Craig Press
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