Although Telluride’s start was anything but exemplary of their extraordinary ability, they shook off their rust in the 23rd minute when they were rewarded with a free kick deep in Center’s half. Team captain Victor Major capitalized on the opportunity, netting the goal on a well-placed chip shot over the Vikings' keeper.
Major’s goal began a barrage of goals from Telluride, who mercilessly pounded the ball at Center’s last man. With goals in the 25th minute by Wade Parkinson, in the 30th by Fisher Hazen, in the 35th by Morgan Pihl, in the 36th by Chris Phillips, the 40th by Colin Breuer, and finally in the 48th by Justice James, Telluride cemented one of the most lopsided victories in team history.
According to Colorado High School Activities Association rules, following a 7-0 lead, the team on the winning side must start removing one player for every goal scored. Consequently, the Miners began pruning the lineup as CHSAA rules demand. Because of their insurmountable lead, the Miners were able to bring in their JV team for the remainder of the game.
Center’s Jose Olivas was able to score one goal in the 74th minute bringing the final score for the first game of the doubleheader to 7-1.
Following Telluride’s first game of the doubleheader, Coach Ryan Kusuno congratulated his poised team on a well-earned victory. Kusuno proceeded to start his first lineup for the second game, but made sure to warn his players that the Center Vikings “may start getting chippy,” arguing that Center players may start to play as if there was nothing to lose.
In the second contest, Telluride came onto the field unsuspecting, as Center’s offense fired off two promising shots in the first few minutes, but neither landed in the back of the net. After quickly waking up to the real possibility of a loss, Telluride began to play Miners’ soccer, passing the ball adeptly around the Center defenders. Goals by Slator Aplin in the 4th minute, Phillips in the 12th, Raul Toledo in the 15th, Pihl in the 22nd and 29th, James in the 34th, Phillips again in the 35th, Major in the 37th, Riggs Franklin in the 42nd, and lastly, Slator Aplin in the 47th were enough to give the Miners their only mercy rule victory in recent memory.
The Miners didn’t let their lopsided victory go to their heads as they came home in anticipation of an afternoon game against the Crested Butte Titans the following Tuesday.
Again, the miners did not come out on their toes, and it took an early breakaway goal from Crested Butte to get Telluride to play to their full ability.
After falling into a 1-0 deficit, Telluride responded with a corner kick goal from Aplin. Following a miscommunication by the Titans defense, Aplin was left with an open net and a ball at his head, and Aplin was able to head the ball into the net for Telluride’s first goal of the game. After two goals in the first 30 minutes of play, the remainder of the first half offered little excitement for either side.
However, following an undoubtedly awe-inspiring halftime speech from coaches Kusuno and Joe James, the Miners came out with a vengeance and unrelentingly attacked the Crested Butte defense. With a goal at mid-half from Pihl, the Miners took a 2-1 lead, and co-captains Gregory Hope and Major encouraged the troops to continue their attack, and not to start to relax because they had a lead.
Responding to the captains’ demands, the Miners continued to attack. Quickly following Pihl’s goal, Toledo netted a beautiful goal after dribbling two Crested Butte defenders, and slotting the ball in the lower left corner.
However, Crested Butte Quickly answered with another breakaway goal bringing Telluride’s lead back to only one.
The dagger for the Titans came when a foul was called just a couple of yards outside the Crested Butte 18-yard-line. As the Titans goalkeeper aligned his wall, James caught the Titans off their guard and floated the ball into the upper right corner before they had any chance to react.
There were a few opportunities for both sides following James’ late goal, but none amounted to anything in the goals column, and Telluride was able to beat Crested Butte 4-2.
Telluride has undoubtedly responded to their sole divisional loss to Ridgway with a bang. Since their 1-0 defeat at Ridgway, Telluride has won five consecutive matches. On Friday at 4 p.m., Ridgway will come to Telluride to play the Miners in the final season game at Judy Long Memorial Field.
The Miners have three divisional games left this year, and if they are able to win on Friday against Ridgway, at Bayfield and Pagosa Springs, the Miners will win the divisional title. The divisional title would give them a high seed in the state playoffs and at least one playoff game at Judy Long Memorial Field.