Titans prevail in close one vs. Longhorns
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
PEACH VALLEY, Colorado – Jorge Hernandez knew it’d be a close game. So did Coal Ridge coach Mike Mikalakis and Basalt frontman Brent Hayes.
It almost always is when the Titans and Longhorns meet.
In a game that lived up to its billing as one of the area’s top boys soccer rivalries, Hernandez, Mikalakis and Coal Ridge held on for a 2-1 win over visiting Basalt on Saturday.
“We were sure they were going to come out strong, no doubt about that,” said Hernandez, a senior who scored the Titans’ second goal on a sunny September morning. “We told the team, ‘Put everything you got into it and hope for the best.'”
And the best is what they got.
Edgar Enriquez linked up with Lalo Rodriguez to put Coal Ridge on top 20 minutes into the contest. Enriquez lofted a long pass toward Rodriguez near the top of the box, where a Basalt defender got a foot on the ball but couldn’t settle and clear it. Rodriguez took advantage, grabbing possession and burying a mid-range shot.
Roughly 18 minutes later, Enriquez found Hernandez with a pass and the latter used his speed to advance deep into the box up the left side. He punctuated the run by tapping in a short goal for a 2-0 Titans’ lead.
“It was just a nice give-and-go out to the side,” Hernandez said. “We got through.”
Basalt’s Jerson Orellana made it interesting in the second half, slicing the Coal Ridge lead in half with a goal off a corner kick. Orellana blasted the 52nd-minute shot off the hands of Titans goalkeeper Junior Contreras, who made several acrobatic saves throughout the afternoon.
Contreras and Coal Ridge managed to withstand a number of shots on goal as time whittled away.
“We just wanted to stay aggressive through the middle and up top and, you know, we just can’t find the net this year,” Longhorns coach Brent Hayes said. “We had plenty of opportunities. If you don’t bury those shots early, they’re probably going to come back to haunt you.”
The loss dropped Basalt to 2-3 overall. The Longhorns are 0-1 in 3A Region 3 play and will face the Titans again on Oct. 2. That one will be in Basalt and will count in the Region 3 standings.
If it’s anything like the first game, expect an intense rematch.
“Basalt is going to be a tough game every time we play them,” said Mikalakis, whose team improved to 4-0 overall and has yet to play a league game. “Basalt’s a tough team, and they will rise to play their best and, hopefully, we rise to play our best every time we see them. These are classic games, and they’re fun games. This was a fun day of soccer.”
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Burning Mountain Park in New Castle will illuminate Saturday evening at the town’s Holiday Tree Lighting and Chili Cook-off between 5 and 7 p.m.