LONGMONT — In the Shane Smith coaching era at Silver Creek, success in boys playoff soccer is no longer a pipe dream.
Before Smith took over the boys program, the Raptors were 0-for-the postseason, as in zero state playoff victories since the school opened early in the new millennium.
On Wednesday, the Silver Creek boys posted their second playoff win ever, and second in Smith’s three seasons at the helm. And this one, like the first (4-1 over Denver South in 2011), was a blowout as the 16th-seeded Raptors blanked No. 17 Skyview 5-0 in the first round of the 4A postseason.
“(Two) years ago we did get the monkey off our back as the saying goes,” Smith said. “This time around it’s not about monkeys off the back. It’s about being focused on the game at hand. You saw the focus out there today.”
Silver Creek scored twice in the first eight minutes and went on to hand Skyview (11-4-1) its most lopsided loss of the season.
The victory earned the Raptors (10-5-1) a round-of-16 road game Tuesday against Air Academy (15-1), the top-seeded team in the 4A bracket. The Kadets dispatched 32nd-seeded Harrison 9-1 on Wednesday night.
While Silver Creek will have its work cut out against Air Academy, it looked very sharp Wednesday against Skyview after going winless in its previous four games (0-3-1).
“This feels great,” said senior striker Cameron Guzman, who scored two goals Wednesday to give him 19 for the season. “Everybody came out ready to play. Our mentality got a lot better from the last few games. Our heads were down after we didn’t win any of the last four. But our heads were really in it today, and we want to win state.”
For a game between two similar seeds, Wednesday’s matchup didn’t look the part. The Raptors went up 4-0 in the first half and prompted Skyview to change goalies not once but twice. Silver Creek’s five-goal output was its third-largest of the season.
The Raptors broke the ice less than five minutes into the contest as Steven Jimenez fired a downfield pass to Guzman who turned and struck. The ball deflected off the bottom of the crossbar and over the goal line.
Just three minutes later, junior Luis Morales juggled the ball momentarily, then ripped a 45-yard shot that knuckled off the hands of Skyview keeper Saul Sanchez and into the net.
Guzman bended a 25-yard free kick into the goal with a couple minutes left before halftime to give Silver Creek insurance, then Jimenez followed suit with a similarly hooking shot to put the Raptors up 4-0 with 42 seconds left before intermission.
The onslaught continued just after halftime as senior Manuel Steinbach struck net, giving Silver Creek five goals in 41 minutes.
And on the other end, goalkeepers Caleb Foster and Jesus Moreno teamed up for the Raptors’ fifth shutout win of the season.
“A lot of us varsity kids, especially us seniors, have played together since Day 1,” Foster said. “We know each other, we know how we play. We were able to put it away with a smile on our faces. Working together is the best thing.”
All in all, the margin of victory even took some of the Raptors by surprise.
“We were 16 and they were 17th seed, so I thought it was going to be pretty even,” Guzman said. “But we came out to play and wanted it more.”
How comfortable was Silver Creek’s lead for most of the game? Comfortable enough that Smith used 23 players, at least five more than he anticipated.
“I’m thrilled,” the coach said. “I couldn’t be more happy with my boys right now.”
But now comes a Tuesday matchup with the No. 1 team in the state in Class 4A.
“I believe it’s going to be a really good game,” Foster said. “If we focus on our own jobs, we can play a strong game. I have no clue what their record is or how they do, but our main focus has to be us. That’s all we can do.”
Silver Creek 5, Skyview 0
At Silver Creek H.S.
Skyview (11-4-1) 0 0 — 0
Silver Creek (10-5-1) 4 1 — 5
Goals (assists) — Silver Creek: Cameron Guzman (Steven Jimenez assist), 5th minute; Silver Creek: Luis Morales (Ryan Aragon assist), 8th minute; Silver Creek: Guzman (unassisted), 38th minute; Silver Creek: Jimenez (Manuel Steinbach assist), 40th minute; Silver Creek: Steinbach (unassisted), 42nd minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Skyview: Saul Sanchez (48-3-5), Jared Navarro (32-2-1); Silver Creek Caleb Foster (68-0-7), Jesus Moreno (12-0-3).