As the defending Tri-Valley League champions and the owner of an 11-game winning streak within the conference, the Skyline boys soccer team's primary focus in 2014 is retaining their crown.
Yet make no mistake — the Falcons always embrace any opportunity to grab some bragging rights against their non-league foes from the Longmont area. On Thursday, Cruz Valdez gave the Falcons that nod for the next year over Silver Creek.
The senior delivered the go-ahead goal on a wicked left-footed line drive early in the second half, giving visiting Skyline a 2-1 victory.
"You get really pumped because of that rivalry," Valdez said. "You know the other players and you always get bragging rights. When you see them around town you get to say, 'Hey, we beat you guys,' for a whole other year."
Skyline (2-0) struck first against the youthful Raptors as a corner kick left a loose ball roaming in the middle of the Silver Creek penalty box. Skyline junior Jonathan Flores blasted a shot under the crossbar to give the visitors a 1-0 edge in the 12th minute.
Silver Creek, though, answered just four minutes later, taking advantage of one of the few defensive miscues made by the Falcons in the entire match. Jamie Lee broke free down the right wing and, after getting behind the Skyline defense, delivered a perfect crossing pass to the center of the box. E.J. Ezzat converted a relatively easy header to tie the match 1-1, a score that held through halftime.
Valdez quickly broke that tie after the break, working his way to the middle of the field before unloading a shot that Silver Creek netminder Matthew Carson had little chance of deflecting.
"(Valdez) is such a quiet leader and he works his heart out," Skyline coach Luis Chavez said. "With him being one of the captains, he leads by example. He puts a lot of effort into it, and it's great to see how everybody follows that lead."
From there Skyline dominated, controlling the action and limiting the Raptors to just one shot on goal over the final 40 minutes, and a very non-threatening shot at that. Silver Creek did enjoy two free kicks from just outside the penalty box in the latter stages of the game, including one with a minute left, but both attempts and netting an equalizer sailed over the crossbar.
"We kept our composure, played our game, calmed down and didn't panic," Chavez said. "If anything, we realized we could be the better team as long as we kept our heads on our shoulders.
"If the guys continue to do a good job and work hard, I'm really looking forward to seeing if we can take the city and conference championship. Again, it's going to take a lot of work. No one is going to give us anything for free. It's going to be a matter of stepping it up a notch every game."
Follow Pat on Twitter: twitter.com/prooney07
Skyline 2, Silver Creek 1
At Silver Creek HS
Skyline (2-0) 1 1 — 2
Silver Creek (0-1-2) 1 0 — 1
Goals (assists) — Skyline: Jonathan Flores (Ulises Garcia), 12th minute; Silver Creek: E.J. Ezzat (Jamie Lee), 16th minute; Skyline: Cruz Valdez (unassisted), 43rd minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Skyline: Gabe Chavez (80-1-5); Silver Creek: Matthew Carson (80-2-7).