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Cheyenne Mountain knocks out Sand Creek in soccer playoffs
It’s a good thing there won’t be a third meeting this season between Cheyenne Mountain and Sand Creek. That might have really gotten ugly.
The Indians avenged a loss from 16 days earlier in knocking their conference rival out in the second round of the 4A boys’ soccer tournament with a 1-0 victory on Saturday afternoon at Sand Creek.
"There’s really no love loss there," Cheyenne Mountain coach Tomas Martinez said. "When they beat us last time, we took it personally."
The rematch featured four yellow cards, several injuries and a postgame handshake that took a few minutes longer than normal as coaches from both sides aired some grievances about what took place over what was an 80-minute slugfest.
“We’re not dirty,” Martinez said. “We play hard. We’re not dirty. (Sand Creek coach Jeremy Tafoya) said that we broke a kid’s leg. I didn’t see it. Whatever it was, we didn’t do it on purpose.”
The style of the game was, however, part of Cheyenne Mountain’s plan.
After losing at Sand Creek 3-1 on Sept 11, Martinez and his team spent 30 minutes talking. They felt they were pushed around, so Martinez issued a challenge to his team.
“When we talked that day we said do you want to be men or do you want to be boys,” Martinez said. “And they want to be men.”
That strategy worked, but only after Sand Creek missed several early chances.
“If you don’t finish, you don’t win,” Tafoya said. “But honestly, we should have been up 3-0 after five minutes. But you’ve got to finish.
“I can’t walk away and be that upset because we had our chances.”
Cheyenne Mountain (12-4-1), which was admittedly dominated through the first half, scored the game’s only goal when Andrew Baer took a long pass from Troy Aguilar and flicked it over the head of the goalie as he stepped up to challenge. Sand Creek defender Donald Tafoya tried to head it out as it neared the goal but he could only direct it into the net.
“Troy played such a perfect ball,” said Baer, whose goal came with 2:32 remaining in the first half. “I just tried to do something with it.”
Sand Creek (12-5), which scored 69 goals in 17 games, frantically tried to find an equalizer over the final 40 minutes. The final minute was particularly crazy, with a pair of corner-kick opportunities for the Scorpions.
These sorts of spirited contests will likely happen more and more often as the Colorado High School Activities Association tries to lump as many nearby teams together in brackets to cut back on travel expenses.Cheyenne Mountain is just beginning what it calls it’s “Revenge Tour,” with a trip to Palmer Ridge next on the agenda for Thursday.
Tafoya, whose team lost midfielder Austin Linkous to what appeared to be a severe leg injury, believes the winner of the Indians-Bears game could well win state.
Martinez wishes the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference didn’t have to be limited to just one contender, as Thursday’s winner will be the only area team remaining.
“We’ve got such a strong group,” Martinez said. “It’s too bad we have to knock each other out.”