LONGMONT — Jose Medrano spent most of practice the day before perfecting his placement on penalty kicks just in case an opportunity arose in the postseason.
When it did Wednesday, his spot in the net was carved into memory.
Medrano converted into the lower right corner late in the first half and goalie Diego Chavez made a pair of sparkling saves late in the second as eighth-seed Skyline held on to beat No. 25 Pueblo Centennial 1-0 to advance to the second round of the 4A playoffs.
Asked about the winning boot, Medrano said he'd decided where to put it some 24 hours earlier.
"The coaches were like just choose a spot and stay with that spot every time," he said. "I didn't even look at the goal. I didn't even look up. Didn't look at the goalie, put my head down, took a few steps back, tucked it in, and at the end of the day that was the goal that sent us through."
In their closest call in over a month, Skyline (13-1-2) won its 12th straight game despite struggling to find consistent timing on the offensive end while nearly letting the Bulldogs (10-4-1) tie the game late.
Helping to wrap up the Falcons' first trip to the second round in two years, Chavez dove quickly to his left in the 68th minute to deny Layken Breit's shot inside the box. He then soared high into the air to tip out a dangerous corner kick in the waning minutes.
"Put in the past," Chavez said afterward.
"It was a win, but we have to put the ugliness in the past and we have to play a lot cleaner in the second round."
Skyline will host the winner of Wednesday night's first round game between No. 9 Durango and No. 24 Mitchell in the second round. The Falcons are hoping to make it to their first state quarterfinals in program history, according to Skyline coach Luis Chavez said.
"I feel really confident if we get our game going," coach Chavez said. "If we get our real style of playing where we're strong on the ball, they're not pushing us off the ball, and not losing it innocently, we'll show better."
Setting up Medrano's game-winner went like this: Faolan Moore slid to his back to rescue the ball from the corner goal line and Luis Bustos aggressively took it into the box where he was fouled.
After that, Bustos hugged Medrano and told him to take the PK.
"He told me 'I believe in you'," Medrano said. "That gave me some extra motivation."
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Skyline 1, Pueblo Centennial 0
At SkylinePueblo Centennial (10-4-1) 0 0 — 0
Skyline (13-1-2) 1 0 — 1
Goals (assists) —Skyline:Jose Medrano PK (unassisted), 32nd minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Skyline: Diego Chavez (80-0-4); Pueblo CentennialJesse Chavez (80-1-8).