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LONGMONT — Silver Creek’s Steven Flores and Austin Rankin are only sophomores, but they already understand the rivalry with Longmont as well as the upperclassmen do.
Every game on the schedule is important, but it means a little more when the Raptors line up across from the Trojans. Silver Creek seized the opportunity by coming out firing on the way to a 3-2 victory in a Class 4A Northern Conference showdown on Thursday night at Everly-Montgomery Field.
“We showed who is the best of Longmont. We came out on top,” said Flores, who scored two unassisted goals in the BoCoPreps.com game of the week. “We came in confident and wanted to win, and I think we played well.”
Rankin, who opened the scoring, agreed that there was some added motivation for this one.
“It was one of our biggest games of the season even though we see some harder teams,” Rankin said. “Everybody was excited all week.”
Despite the Raptors’ lofty win-loss record (7-1 overall, 5-1 league) and second-place standing in the Northern, they haven’t exactly set the state on fire with the effort during the early minutes of most games. The slow starts haven’t helped of course, but to this point they haven’t hurt much either.
But there Silver Creek came sprinting out of the gates against the Trojans.
“We’ve come out flat in several games and we didn’t come out flat today,” Silver Creek coach Shane Smith said. “I think we came ready to play from the moment the whistles went off.”
The Raptors set the pace early, controlling the ball in the midfield and putting pressure on Longmont keeper Yovanni Hernandez.
In the 13th minute, the lightning-fast Brian Hardy delivered a perfect crossing pass from deep in the corner to the near post of the Trojans’ goal. Rankin was there for the easy finish.
“It was right there for me and I just knocked it in,” Rankin said.
Longmont (4-4, 2-2), a team that likely takes little solace knowing it is one of the best .500 teams around, pulled back into the game behind the offensive power of Ernesto Enriquez.
With a dish from Kyle Pocalyko, Enriquez delivered a rising fastball toward the middle of the goal. Raptors keeper Kyle Kirkland got his hands up and looked at first to have secured the save, but Enriquez’s shot was too powerful and the ball continued past Kirkland’s gloves and into the net.
That tied the score 1-1 in the 28th minute, but Silver Creek wasted little time regaining an advantage.
Set up with a free kick from about 30 yards out, Flores placed his shot perfectly in the top corner of the goal to put the Raptors back on top.
“I just wanted to score,” he said. “I had a burst of confidence. I just felt it.”
Flores put the Raptors in control with his second goal after rebounding a Longmont defender’s attempt to clear the ball following a shot toward the goal.
With the score at 3-1 Silver Creek, the game looked to be secure with 9 minutes remaining. But the Trojans found another gear and went down firing.
After a few close calls and some physical play, Kyler Aurenhammer fed Enriquez, who broke through a pair of defenders to claim his second goal.
Longmont continued to press as the clock ticked down, and Aurenhammer came close to notching the equalizer, but his powerful boot from long-range went just high.
“We came out flat. That’s what cost us the first goal,” Enriquez said. “After our second goal, we wanted to go out even harder and maybe take it to overtime. But we fell short.” Brady Delander can be reached at email@example.com.
Silver Creek 3, Longmont 2
At Everly-Montgomery Field
Silver Creek (7-1, 5-1) 2 1 — 3
Longmont (4-4, 2-2) 1 1 — 2
Goals (assists) — Silver Creek: Austin Rankin (Brian Hardy), 13th minute; Longmont: Ernesto Enriquez (Kyle Pocalyko), 28th; Silver Creek: Steven Flores (unassisted); 36th; Silver Creek: Flores (unassisted) , 71st; Longmont: Enriquez (Kyler Aurenhammer), 74th.
Shots on goal — Silver Creek: 4-3 — 7; Longmont: 2-3 — 5.
Corner kicks — Silver Creek: 1-2 — 3; Longmont 4-1 — 5.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Silver Creek: Kyle Kirkland (80-2-3); Longmont: Yovanni Hernandez (80-3-4).
Yellow cards — Johnathon Wright, Silver Creek, 10th; Enriquez, Longmont, 63rd.