Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
LONGMONT — Silver Creek’s Connor Peskin had the ball on his foot.
He and the rest of the Raptors knew that the Battle Mountain goalie was willing to take chances, come way out from his goal to risk what could be the ultimate reward for the opposition.
With his team down 2-1 in the closing minutes on Tuesday night to the Huskies in the second round of the Class 4A state tournament at Everly Montgomery Field, Peskin’s big rip was turned away by Alan Villegas and ninth-seeded Battle Mountain lived to fight another day and eliminated the Raptors.
“The keeper was cheating the whole game, so I was really expecting him to be out earlier,” said Peskin, who led all Raptors goal scorers this season with 12. “I should have looked up and checked to see if he was out, but he was on his line, which kind of surprised me.
“I kicked it expecting him to be off his line.”
Battle Mountain (15-2) will host No. 17 D’Evelyn — a stunning 3-2 winner over top-seeded Cheyenne Mountain on Tuesday — on Saturday in Edwards.
The Huskies took their lead early in the second half playing into a strong breeze coming from the north.
Ironically enough, a guy named Creek Kamby — who scored Battle Mountain’s first goal — created the second. The big, burly striker created some space for himself against a Raptors double team and crossed a pass to Erik Solis, who finished past Silver Creek keeper Aidan Lantaff.
“(Kamby) was very good, he was quick, but we have definitely played some better teams,” senior defender Hunter Becvar said. “He had a couple of nice through balls that we just happened to not be on the back side of and they were able to capitalize.”
The Raptors (13-3-1), with the wind at their backs, forced the issue and while the possession was in favor of Battle Mountain, Silver Creek made the Huskies work.
Four minutes before Peskin’s opportunity, the Raptors appeared to have equalized on Miguel Toledo’s header off of a set piece that came his way on Villegas’ far post. The ball was deemed by the official not to have crossed the goal line despite the fact the goalie was two step into his goal.
It was a tough way for first-year coach Rob Johnson’s team to bow out, knowing that they had their chances.
“The hard part was that we were creating chance but we were not shooting, shooting to score. It was like we were looking for the perfect shot,” said Johnson, who cringed after he found out that a victory would have meant a quarterfinal home game. “We did well. we adjusted to what they were doing and I thought we played right with them.
“Finding a way to win is the hardest part.”
The first-time Northern League champs have nothing to hang their heads about and the culture has certainly changed. The groundwork has been laid for the future of the program and despite graduating 10 seniors, the Raptors expect to be right back in the playoff hunt next year.
“We have some freshman coming up that are super good and we have a lot of potential the next couple of years,” said Peskin, a junior. “I’m not too worried about it, I think we can go even farther next year.”
BATTLE MOUNTAIN 2, SILVER CREEK 1
At Everly Montgomery Stadium
Battle Mountain (15-2)
Silver Creek (13-3-1)
Goals (assists) —
Battle Mountain: Creek Kamby (Danny Barajas), 14th minute; Silver Creek: Miguel Toledo (unassisted), 15th; Battle Mountain: Erik Solis (Kamby), 46th.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) —
Battle Mountain: Alan Villegas (80-1-3); Silver Creek: Aidan Lantaff (80-2-3).