Boys soccer: Dhani Russell the hero, Silver Creek beats George Washington in first round

  • Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    ilver Creek's Jace Carson, right, congratulates teammate Dhani Russell after Russell scored a goal on Wednesday against George Washington in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs. Go to for more photos

  • Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    Silver Creek's Jake Levin, left, and George Washington's Trent Ramirez battle for the ball on Wednesday.



LONGMONT — Silver Creek’s attacking mindset led to Dhani Russell’s walk-off goal in the early moments of the second overtime on Wednesday afternoon.

The Raptors could wait no longer — another chance at history is just in reach.

Russell scored twice, including the winner on a header chance 25 seconds into a second extra period, and No. 14 Silver Creek beat No. 19 George Washington 2-1 to carve a place in the second round of the Class 4A postseason for a third straight year.

The Raptors are proud of the consistency. Perhaps it’s time to break new ground, though.

“This program has never made it past the second round, so that’s our big hump,” Silver Creek coach Rob Johnson said. “Mentally, can we get them to realize, ‘You can do it’?”

The winners of the 4A Northern League can clinch its first quarterfinals appearance with a win at No. 3 Denver North on Tuesday. The Vikings beat No. 30 Littleton 2-0 in the first round.

Johnson said he feels like a scrappy and often heated contest against George Washington was good preparation for his team.

“That was probably one of the top two or three teams we’ve seen all year,” Johnson said.

Silver Creek and George Washington were tied 1-1 headed to a second overtime after neither team found many good looks in the first OT. Johnson told his guys not to sit back.

Off a George Washington turnover in the backfield, Manuel Mattioli took the ball to the left side of the box and crossed an expert ball to a lunging Russell for the winner. The celebration afterward was a bit muted from a team with bigger aspirations.

“This was important for us,” Russell said. “We just motivated ourselves and went out and got it.”

Mattioli and Russell connected earlier, too. A strong strike at the net and a swinging left leg were in perfect unison.

With the ball never touching the ground, Mattioli turned on Dylan Weiss’ corner and speared a low-lining shot. Just a few feet in front of him, Russell then flicked his left foot and altered the shot past George Washington keeper Pedro Cruz to make it 1-0 in the 37th minute.

“This is the result of all the work in training,” Mattioli said. “We’ve worked very, very hard.”

The Patriots tied the game in the 48th minute thanks to a walk-in goal from Daniel Ameyaw. Trent Ramirez’s long free kick bounced into the box as Silver Creek keeper Aidan Lantaff got tangled between two George Washington players and fell to the ground. With Lantaff desperately trying to find footing, Ameyaw corralled the ball and took a few steps towards an empty net before tapping it in.

Neither team had much in the way of chances for the next 48 minutes. A wide shot, here. Routine save, there.

Then, it was Mattioli to Russell once again in the 96th.

“I had to finish it,” Russell said.

Brent W. New: and @brentwnew


Silver Creek 2, George Washington 1 (2OT)

At Silver Creek HS

George Washington (8-7-1) 0 1 0 1

Silver Creek (10-6) 1 0 1 2

Goals (assists) —Silver Creek: Dhani Russell (Manuel Mattioli) 37th minute; George Washington: Daniel Ameyaw (Trent Ramirez) 48th; Silver Creek: Russell (Mattioli) 96th .

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — George Washington: Pedro Cruz (96-2-7); Silver Creek: Aidan Lantaff (96-1-11).