Coal Ridge roughed up by Grand Junction Central, another Grandbouche hat trick |

Coal Ridge roughed up by Grand Junction Central, another Grandbouche hat trick

Anthony Dion
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Kelley Cox Post Independent

PEACH VALLEY, Colorado ” Kahler Grandbouche picked up right where he left off last week and Grand Junction Central (2-0) continued its offensive onslaught as the Warriors overwhelmed Coal Ridge, 6-3 on Tuesday.

Grandbouche, coming off a 4-goal game against Glenwood Springs last Thursday, scored within 30 seconds of the opening kick en route to his second hat-trick in as many games.

“Our offense is clicking really good right now,” Grandbouche said after the game. “Our defense and working together more as a team are the areas where we could improve right now.”

Even then, it may be nit-picking.

The Warriors feature an offense with a three-headed monster at forward led by the senior, Grandbouche. Junior Stevie Palma and Casey Johnson, a senior, round out the trio that continues to put pressure on its opponents.

“Kahler had another strong game today, and Stevie as well while Casey was a little bit off,” said Central head coach Larry Johnson. “The thing about having that three-headed monster up front is we can afford to have one, or even two of them have off games and still be OK.”

The Warriors got out to an early lead against the Titans, thanks to Grandbouche’s early goal in the first minute of the contest. The 1-0 lead held for the majority of the first half before the Titans (1-1) finally broke through against Warriors keeper Tyler Felker to get on the board. Darwin Cortez notched the tying goal at the 27 minute mark on an assist from Eirain Garcia from midfield. Cortez also had two assists in the game for Coal Ridge.

The only tie of the game didn’t last long thanks to Palma.

Taking the tie as if it was an insult to him personally, Palma poured in two goals within minutes of each other (31 and 33 minute mark) to put his team ahead 3-1. One of his goals came off a corner kick and a beautiful, one-touch pass from teammate Brendan Black.

Coal Ridge would cut it to 3-2 in the 35th minute but Grandbouche, again, had an answer for them with a goal three minutes later as he broke through the Titans’ defense and hammered home a shot in the left corner. The Warriors led 4-2 at half and never looked back.

“Giving up that first goal within the first 40 seconds of the game really hurt us,” Coal Ridge head coach Brian Blair lamented. “Mentally it messed us up the whole game. We were playing catch-up the rest of the way and it was just too much overcome.”

The Titans came out strong after a brief reprieve, cutting the Warriors’ lead to just one six minutes in (46), but Central was able to put the clamps down on defense when they needed to and another goal from Grandbouche, this time a header off of a beautiful cross from Palma, put them in the clear. The final goal came in stoppage time when the keeper Felker, converted on the penalty kick.

Central appears to be a top team in the 5A Southwestern League. With a defense that’s improving and a front line featuring Grandbouche and Palma who play as well together any two forwards in the league, they could be tough to beat. Palma assisted his senior teammate on all three of his goals, finishing the game with two goals and three assists.

“We’ve been playing club for a couple of years now so we’re starting to really know each other,” Palma said.

Added Grandbouche: “First two years weren’t as good. So I guess the third year is the charm.”

Certainly appears that way.

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