Telluride boys soccer

Telluride boys soccer seniors, from left, Will Jansen, Wynton Brown and Jackson Tharp. (Courtesy photo)

The Telluride High School boys soccer team is on a historic run. The team went 12-5-1 this year en route to becoming the first ever soccer squad to make it to the Class 2A state championship. The Miners will play Crested Butte Saturday at 4 p.m. at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.

Second-year coach Ramon Rodriguez, who the players credit most for their historic run, leads the team.  

“He really knows how to rally the team together; he made us do things we could never imagine doing,” senior defender Wynton Brown said.  

Telluride’s state championship run started off against Thomas MacLaren School, as the Miners beat the Highlanders 10-2.

“We played a great game, our strikers kept on putting the ball in the back of the net,” junior goalkeeper Tommy Wells said.

The Miners next playoff game was at Dawson School. The Miners home field is a smaller sized field than their opponents, which gives them somewhat of a disadvantage when playing on the road. We asked senior midfielder Will Jansen about the differences of practicing on a smaller field at home.

“It’s tough to prepare for away games because the field is so wide and long compared to ours, but Rod (Coach Rodriguez) does a great job of making sure we’re ready for the away games,” he said.  

Even with the size anomaly, the Miners were able to pull off a double-overtime win, 2-1, against the Dawson Mustangs. Jonah Jodlowski scored early, before Ian Enkema netted the game-winning goal in the early part of second overtime.

“We went insane the second the ball went in the back of the net. I’ve never ran so fast to hug Ian after the game. It was thrilling,” senior striker Coby Abt said.   

The Miners were in uncharted territory after that quarterfinal win, since Telluride had never reached the semifinals before.

“It’s exciting to make it further than any other Telluride team,” junior defender Johnny Wilcox said. “The team is bonding on and off the field so well, and I think that’s why we’re having success.”

The Miners next opponent was the Fountain Valley Danes. The Danes were 12-4 coming into the game against the Miners. The Miners once again had an away game in Denver, but they overcame playing on the road once more to beat the Danes 3-2 in similar fashion, in overtime. Enkema rose to the occasion for the second time, again scoring the game-winning goal in overtime. Enkema commented on his late game triumphs, “It’s exhilarating, coming back in overtime in the last two games. We will use this momentum to help us win the championship.”

The Miners will be playing rival Crested Butte, a team they have lost to twice this year, in the state final. The first time the Miners played Crested Butte, they lost 1-0; they lost the second match 3-1. However, the Miners team has progressed since the last time they played Crested Butte. The Miners feel that they have a very good shot at securing the school’s first state soccer championship.

“It is so rare that a team beats another team three times in a row,” senior striker Jackson Tharp said.

With that being said, Tharp feels that the third time’s a charm and believes Telluride has the advantage in the upcoming matchup.

The electricity in the school has been astounding for the past week. Staff members are anticipating the hype for Saturday’s game.

“Very excited for the game this weekend. I am a 9 out of 10 on the excitement scale,” teacher Kelly Boykin said.   

Telluride’s students are just as excited for the game as the players themselves.

“We are all driving up to Denver to support the boys team, we can’t wait to see their hard work pay off,” Senior Quinn Beere said.

Seniors Robert Cooney and Sawyer Hamm are Tell-U-News staff writers, Telluride High School’s student newspaper.