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Boys soccer: Several area players among state’s scoring leaders

  • Erie's Joshua Michels, right, leads Class 4A with 24 goals...

    Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer

    Erie's Joshua Michels, right, leads Class 4A with 24 goals scored this season.

  • Dawson School's Tanner Fulkerson has already scored 17 goals this...

    Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer

    Dawson School's Tanner Fulkerson has already scored 17 goals this season, 10 more than he scored all of last year.

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Joshua Michels may have taken all of the fun out of the local goal scoring race this past week, but thanks to two great games the Erie High School senior is actually closing in on the state’s leaders as the season comes down the stretch.

With Michels’ efforts, as well as those of teammate Dominic Byrd, Niwot’s Justin Barkow and Mark Ramirez, Silver Creek’s Sean Peskin and Dawson School’s Tanner Fulkerson, it’s pretty clear there is plenty of net success in the area.

All of those players find themselves in the top 25 on the goals scored list after Saturday’s games. Michels took a huge leap forward with seven goals in two games this past week to bring his season total to 24.

The Tigers are in their second year of varsity play, and because of a highly effective offense a playoff berth is possible.

“We’ve just been a team that has tried to allow our offense take the pressure off our defense, and I’d rather outscore a team 5-3 than 1-0,” said Erie head coach Dayton Owens, whose team takes on Berthoud on Monday looking to add to 59 goals scored so far. “We’re attack-oriented. Josh has been phenomenal.”

Michels had 22 goals last year, carrying a big load in the final five games, Owens said. With Byrd posting 15 goals so far — while also coming off a serious knee injury in 2014 — the balance Owens said he’s seen has helped Michels.

And that could lead to even bigger things, Owens said, as Michels is a native of The Netherlands and actually paid money to return to Erie for his senior year. He was a foreign exchange student in 2014-15, his junior year.

Michels leads Class 4A players, while the overall state leader is Zion Lander of Denver Science & Tech-Green Valley Ranch.

“He wanted to come back to get the chance to go to a U.S. university, and we’re hoping he gets some looks,” Owens said of Michels. “Leading the state in goals might get that interest.”

Fulkerson scored his 17th goal in a loss to Liberty Common this week, already 10 more than a year ago as he’s playing a different position. He’s currently tied for 11th in the state.

Whether he’s been set up well by teammates or split defenders with a dribble to set up a scoring chance, Fulkerson has had a banner year, too.

“I’ve played a lot of center mid the past three years but this year I’m playing more forward and there’s been opportunities to finish,” Fulkerson said, his team with four more contests remaining before playoffs. “I just hope to finish the season strong.”

Niwot leads the state as a team with 70 goals, and Ramirez and Barkow have combined for 39. The Cougars also have three games left before playoffs.

Adam Dunivan: dunivana@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/AdamDunivan24

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