The Miners will play for the state soccer championship.
The Telluride High School boys soccer team stunned No. 2 seed Fountain Valley 3-2 in overtime last weekend to advance to the Class 2A state final next Saturday.
Telluride’s Ian Enkema headed the ball up and over the Fountain Valley goalie 3 minutes into the first overtime period to give the Miners their second consecutive OT victory and the school’s first berth in the state championship match.
Telluride (12-5-1) will play rival Crested Butte (14-1-2) for the 2A championship trophy at 4 p.m. at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, home of the MLS Colorado Rapids.
The Miners trailed 2-0 in the first half against Fountain Valley in the semifinal match played at All City Stadium in Denver.
“But these guys just don’t give up,” Telluride head coach Ramon Rodriguez said. “That’s what you have to do when you’re down 2-0.”
Telluride’s Andreas Moorman converted a penalty kick to cut the lead to 2-1 at halftime.
“When we put one on the board before half, it gave us momentum for the whole second half,” Rodriguez said.
Telluride’s Brian Sosa eventually scored the tying goal off a corner kick with 11 minutes to play in regulation.
He converted the goal after a scramble in front of the net.
“Then, we were pumped up again,” Rodriguez said, crediting the Telluride defense. “Our defense stood solid … all year really. The kept us in the game … several games.”
At the end of regulation, Rodriguez said the Miners were excited about overtime.
“It was not the first time for us. We’re used to battling in overtime,” the Telluride coach said.
A week earlier, the Telluride boys beat No. 3 seed Dawson School of Lafayette 3-2 in double overtime.
“About three minutes into overtime, we got a lucky break. Their goalkeeper came out a little too late,” Rodriguez said. “And Ian Enkema snuck in by him … unorthodox goal. But it went in, and the whole bench runs out onto the field to celebrate.”
A large crowd of Telluride parents and fans made the trip to Denver. Their support was crucial, Rodriquez said.
“The parents and fans that made the trip really helped us,” he said. “We had a big cheering section.”
The Miners will have another large traveling party this week for the state championship match against a friendly rival from another mountain resort town — played on a professional soccer pitch.
“It’s going to be a good match. Both teams respect each other,” Rodriguez said.
Telluride and Crested Butte played twice during the regular season.
The Titans won 1-0 on Sept. 14 in Crested Butte and won again 3-1 in Telluride on Oct. 20 in another tightly contested homecoming match.
Telluride and Crested Butte will play a third match with the state title on the line.
No. 1 overall seed Crested Butte reached the championship match with a 2-1 win over No. 4 Denver Christian in the semifinals.
“With Crested Butte, there are no secrets there. They know what we do, and we know what they do,” Rodriguez said. “It’ll be a matter of the team that wants it the most.”
He said the San Juan region can take pride in the season that sent two teams into the state final with Ridgway also winning a state playoff match this year.
Rodriguez, who early in the season cited contributions from the younger players, heaped praise on the Telluride seniors for the playoff run.
“Our senior group really picked it up (late in the season),” Rodriguez said. “They’ve demonstrated their leadership.”
For the No. 6 seed Miners, who started their playoff run with a 10-2 victory over Thomas MacLaren, one step remains, along with a chance to win the school’s first state soccer championship.
“We’ve earned this. The kids earned this,” Rodriguez said. “Now we have to show up and finish the job.”