Bears into round of sweet 16 |

Bears into round of sweet 16

RIFLE – When it comes to the playoffs, reputations don’t mean much.

Entering Saturday’s Rifle-Skyview Class 4A boys regional playoff soccer match, most of the pregame buzz centered on the Wolverines’ high-scoring midfielder Jesus Mojardin and his 24 goals.

But Rifle did all the scoring in a 3-0 win, and Mojardin was shut out.

“We knew who he was, and we told our guys to let the game unfold and man-mark Mojardin if we needed to,” Rifle coach Tom Taucher said. “We knew everything would probably flow through him. We were ready for that. But we really didn’t man-mark him at all, we just played our game.”

The Bears notched three second-half goals to advance out of the regional playoff round and into the 16-team state tournament.

Sean Melody pushed David Romero’s throw-in over the goal line for the first score in the 42nd minute. Romero added an insurance goal by redirecting Adam Krick’s throw-in to the near post 10 minutes later. Kyle McElroy headed in Rifle’s third goal from goalie Roman Tencza’s long punt in the 67th minute.

The victory moves Rifle (13-3) into the first round of the 4A state playoffs against a yet-to-be determined opponent. Skyview concludes the season at 6-8-1.

Mojardin’s best opportunity came on a free kick in the second half. By then, Rifle had the game well under control.

Skyview, the sixth-place team from the Skyline League, fired eight shots at the Bear goal – none came close to going in.

The best chance the Wolverines had to break up Tencza’s shutout – a breakaway by Cesar Sanchez with Rifle up 2-0 – whistled wide right.

A few minutes later Sanchez was ejected from the game on a red card violation for instigating an argument with McElroy.

“It feels great,” said Romero, a senior, about advancing to the state’s sweet 16. “We’ve never been there as long as I’ve been here. “It feels good to finally have the kind of team that’s good enough and strong enough to keep going.”

All first-round state playoff opponents are determined by the Colorado High School Activities Association soccer committee. First-round pairings are scheduled to be released by the CHSAA late Sunday afternoon.

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