Win and advance.
The Telluride High School boys soccer team keeps winning and advancing — all the way into the state semifinals.
The Miners, with back-to-back playoff wins last week over Thomas MacLaren School and Dawson School, respectively, now stand among the final four in Class 2A soccer.
Telluride (11-5-1) will play No. 2 seed Fountain Valley of Colorado Springs (12-4-0) on Saturday at All-City Stadium in Denver.
No. 1 seed Crested Butte (13-1-2) will play No. 4 Denver Christian (11-4-1) in the other Class 2A semifinal on Saturday.
As the No. 6 seed in the 12-team bracket, Telluride started its playoff run with a spirited 10-2 home victory over Thomas MacLaren before a lively home crowd.
The Miners of coach Ramon Rodriguez scored six first-half goals to control the first-round playoff match.
Seniors Brian Sosa scored and Ian Enkema scored and junior Matheau Richard all scored two goals a piece for the Miners, who also picked up single goals from seniors Will Jansen, Corby Abt, Manny Loya and Jackson Tharp, respectively.
The offensive explosion set the stage for Telluride’s trip to Lafayette to face perennial power Dawson School in last weekend’s state quarterfinals.
“We never stopped playing,” Rodriguez said of the roller coaster match at Dawson. “Never stopped battling.”
Dawson, with its back to a stiff Front Range wind, scored on a long shot in the first half for a 1-0 lead.
“The wind was definitely a factor. It was a breezy day over there,” Rodriquez said.
Telluride responded by applying pressure with the wind in the second half.
Dawson held the lead until less than 4 minutes remained in regulation, when Telluride junior Jonah Jodlowski lofted a ball toward the Dawson goal. After it was nearly blocked, it carried and bounced up and over the goalie’s head to tie the match 1-1.
“It was not a pretty goal, but it went in,” Rodriguez said of the unconventional score that sent the match to overtime. “After regulation, we told the kids ‘that goal’s our spark. That’s what we need.’”
The first OT went scoreless.
The second overtime ticked away with a shootout looming on the horizon.
“Jonah, like the first goal, kicked it to goal … and we got a head on it. Ian Enkema tipped it. Somehow, he got a head on it,” Rodriguez said of the header goal that found the back of the net, giving Telluride a dramatic 2-1 victory in double overtime.
“I’m still in shock really. It was a weird goal,” said Rodriguez, who added that a midseason Telluride match at Class 3A Delta helped develop the Miners.
“The boys realized they could play with those guys,” Rodriguez said of Delta (12-3-1), the No. 6 seed in the Class 3A playoffs. Telluride lost 5-2 at Delta but played a close match until the closing minutes — in spite of missing several players because of college entrance exams.
“We kept up the pressure,” the Telluride coach said.
That pressure paid major dividends in the playoff win at Dawson last weekend.
“A lot of parents came up and gave us a lot of support (against Dawson),” Rodriguez said.
A similar spirited cheering section is expected in Denver on Saturday, when Telluride plays in the state soccer semifinals for the first time in school history.
“I’m happy for he kids. They put in the hard work. It was a process to get into the playoffs,” he said. “Now, we are here. What we are trying to do is right in front of us.”
And it’s a chance to keep playing.
“It’s like we told the boys from Day 1,” Rodriguez added. “It’s not what the other team does … it’s us. We’re a good team, and we’ll keep battling.”
The winner of the Telluride-Fountain Valley match will advance to the Class 2A state championship Nov. 10 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City — home of the MLS Colorado Rapids.
STATE CROSS COUNTRY
Telluride senior Jaden Evans raced his way onto the podium at the State Cross Country Championships again last weekend in Colorado Springs.
Evans, who won the regional title a week earlier in Delta, finished eighth overall in the fast Class 2A field at Norris Penrose Event Center. Evans completed the hilly, 5K course in 17 minutes, 18.6 seconds.
Seth Bruxvoort, a senior from Heritage Christian (Fort Collins), won the 2A boys state race in 16 minutes, 09.3 seconds. Micah Zeller, a sophomore from Custer County, finished second in 16 minutes, 25.6 seconds with junior Isaac Roberts of Lyons third (16 minutes, 36.6 seconds).
Heritage Christian won the boys team title with Lyons second and Peyton third, Colorado Rocky Mountain School (Carbondale) fourth and Ouray fifth.
The Telluride boys finished sixth as a team due to the efforts of Evans, Spencer Keating (22nd with a time of 18 minutes, 34.0 seconds) and Meshach Baca-Gomberg (62nd)..
Katie Fankhouser, a junior from Lyons, won the girls 2A race in 19 minutes, 24.5 seconds. Freshman teammate Quin Gregg finished second in 19 minutes, 36.7 seconds.
Senior Chloe Veilleux of Soroco (Oak Creek), who won the girls regional title at Delta, finished third at the state meet (19 minutes, 46.0 seconds).
Telluride freshman Ruby Tanguay, in her first state championship race, finished 41st with a time of 22 minutes 59.4 seconds, just 25 seconds out of the top 20.
Lyons captured the girls team championship with Platte Valley second and Soroco third.