Teamwork pays off for Coal Ridge |

Teamwork pays off for Coal Ridge

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

RIFLE, Colorado – The merits of team play paid off in a big way for Coal Ridge on Thursday.

Behind two goals apiece from four different players, the Titans rolled to a 9-2 boys soccer win at Rifle.

Alfonso Hernandez, Carlos Rodriguez, Lee Wentzel and Jose Rodriguez all scored twice and Sam Klomhaus added a single goal for Coal Ridge, which dominated the possession battle and moved the ball around selflessly to put up those big numbers.

“It’s very, very encouraging,” Titans coach Brian Blair said. “Honestly, we haven’t passed that well at practice all year.”

Blair’s team picked a good time to kick up its passing game, to no surprise of the coach, who’s been hammering home the importance of ball movement.

“We’ve been harping on them about the passes that aren’t going to work and a lot of those were eliminated today,” Blair said. “Instead of trying to force things up the field that weren’t there, we played a lot of backwards balls and played a lot of small balls through. It got people a lot of chances to look up the field and make a good pass instead of just forcing it. It was encouraging.”

It didn’t take long for the shots to find their marks.

Just five minutes into the game, Hernandez lofted a high, mid-range shot onto net from the right flat.

Carlos Rodriguez scored 11 minutes later and the Titans added three more goals – one each from Wentzel, Carlos Rodriguez and Hernandez – in the final seven minutes of the half.

Coal Ridge scored the first two goals of the second half before Rifle broke up the shutout with a goal from freshman Marco Gutierrez, who rocketed home a 20-yarder.

Gutierrez added a second goal later on, heading in a well-placed pass from teammate Caleb Ziegler.

Not much else went well for the Bears in what was the season opener for both teams.

“You know, it’s a learning experience,” Rifle coach Ryan Mahler said. “That’s one thing we can take from it. We’ve seen how they play the game and we know what we need to work on and figure out for Tuesday’s game. We’ve just got to take it one day at a time.”

As for Coal Ridge, Hernandez and his teammates hope to keep the team play brewing.

“We did a lot of talking and we had a lot of good passes,” the junior forward said. “We weren’t just kicking the ball around and making other people run after it. We hope to keep it up.”

Next up for the Titans is Tuesday trip to Grand Junction Central. Also on Tuesday, Rifle will play host to Moffat County.

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