Roaring Fork boys soccer opens strong in 3A state title defense with 5-2 win over Bayfield

The Roaring Fork Rams celebrate after a score on goal in the first half of play against the Bayfield High School Wolverines.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

The fans weren’t about to let Roaring Fork High School’s first-round 3A state soccer title defense game get postponed due to Wednesday’s snowstorm.

No sooner had the snow started to pile up that morning than parents and other community members were out shoveling the Rams’ field to get ready to welcome the Bayfield Wolverines to Carbondale.

The reward: a 5-2 Roaring Fork win to begin the Rams’ march toward defending their state championship.

“Huge shoutout to everyone who came together to make that field happen,” Roaring Fork head coach Nick Forbes said. “That game does not happen if we don’t have 25 parents and other people coming out to help. It was a good feel-good moment, for sure.”

The Roaring Fork Rams celebrate after a score on goal in the first half of play against the Bayfield High School Wolverines.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

And it sure resonated with the Rams, especially junior Josh Hernandez — fresh off recovering from a midseason injury — who scored a hat trick on the night.

Junior Eli Cohen got things rolling in the right direction 12 minutes in when he lofted the ball into the back of the net from just outside the 18, assisted by junior Foster Hayes. Five minutes later, Hernandez found the net from inside the box, followed by another 3 minutes later, again assisted by Hayes to make it 3-0. Senior Bryan Rascon then scored inside 5 minutes to play in the first half to give the Rams a commanding 4-0 lead.

The second half saw the Rams give up a goal to Bayfield on a penalty kick, but Hernandez answered with his third goal of the night, also scored on a penalty kick. Bayfield added its second goal with about 5 minutes to play.

“It’s great to see Josh coming back into form, and it’s a real bonus to have him back right when we really need him,” Forbes said.

Roaring Fork Ram Jacob Barlow loses possession of the ball against the defending Bayfield High School Wolverines on Wednesday night.
Chelsea Self/Post Independent

Caution was the name of the game coming in, given the poor field conditions and cold weather.

“You know the ball is going to bounce weird and some different things happen, so we tell the kids to just play smart, keep their feet under them and play in control,” Forbes said.

The psychology worked.

“I think it was one of our best games all season,” he said. “We played to the system, shared the ball, and if we keep playing like that I think we have another shot.”

The fifth-seeded Rams (14-2) now get set to play No. 12 James Irwin (12-3-1) in Carbondale next Tuesday. The Jaguars were 3-1 winners Wednesday over No. 21 Basalt in Colorado Springs. The Longhorns conclude their season at 6-8-1.

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