These Titans will be remembered |

These Titans will be remembered

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen Post IndependentCoal Ridge junior Edgar Enriquez, right, battles Telluride's Jared Balkind for possession during Saturday's second-round playoff game. Enriquez and the Titans will face Frontier Academy in the quarterfinals on Friday afternoon.

PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – Regardless of what happens in Friday’s Class 3A boys soccer state quarterfinals, the 2012 Coal Ridge Titans have already cemented their place in school history.

They’ve not only matched the program’s deepest postseason run and best season win total, but they’ve also already won the school’s first boys soccer league title.

It’s clear this is a team that won’t soon be forgotten in the Silt and New Castle communities, the result of Friday’s quarterfinal game against visiting Frontier Academy notwithstanding.

“We’re making history,” senior defender Javier Garcia said. “Nobody has made it past the Great Eight. It puts some pressure on us, but it’s good. We enjoy it. We have teachers and staff telling us good luck. It’s a very important game to us.”

Coal Ridge, the third seed in the 32-team playoff bracket, improved to 16-1 with home wins over KIPP Denver Collegiate (3-0) and Telluride (2-1) in the first and second rounds last Friday and Saturday.

No. 6 Frontier Academy (15-0-2) beat James Irwin (4-0) and Aurora West College Prep Academy (5-3) to make the round of eight.

The Titans, who are thriving under first-year head coach Mike Mikalakis, are anticipating a battle.

“Like our coach says, you can’t underestimate anybody,” senior midfielder Jorge Hernandez said. “You have to go out and play your game.”

Hernandez and his teammates have glanced at the scores and stats put up by Frontier Academy, using the numbers to identify some of the Wolverines’ key players.

One whose stats jumped out was Isaac Reinert. The senior has 29 goals and 23 assists.

“They’ve got pretty good stats,” junior forward Edgar Enriquez said. “They’re going to be a pretty tough team.”

Beyond the numbers, though, the Titans know very little about their quarterfinal foe.

“We don’t really know much about them,” sophomore midfielder Enrique Bucio said. “We just know they’re good.”

Coal Ridge has some firepower, too.

Enriquez has a school-record 31 goals. He’s also distributed 17 assists. Hernandez has 12 goals and 16 assists and senior Jose “Lalo” Rodriguez is up to 10 goals.

A win over the Wolverines would put the Titans in the Final Four for the first time. The only team to come close: the 2010 Coal Ridge squad, which went 16-2, losing to The Classical Academy in the quarterfinals.

But that was on the road. In 2012, the Titans have home-field advantage.

“The difference between that team and this team is we have mostly the same experience, but this time we’re playing at home,” Garcia said. “That’s a huge advantage.”

Friday’s winner will play in the semifinals at All City Stadium in Denver on Wednesday. Either No. 2 Colorado Academy or No. 7 Jefferson will be the opponent.

“That would be great,” Hernandez said. “That’s what we’re striving for, but we can’t skip ahead. We’ve got to take it game by game.”

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