The tears were widespread. Several players felt the pain.
Silver Creek boys soccer had a historic year. The quarterfinals of the Class 4A playoffs are the deepest they’ve ever gone. The spoils of triumph fail to outweigh the pain of a 3-1 loss to Air Academy.
“I’ve known all these kids for years,” Silver Creek head coach Rob Johnson said. “They’re a special group, these seniors. You’re not happy to see them crying, but it meant that much to them. They left it on the field. As a coach, I can’t complain.”
The loss marks the end of 13 respective high school careers. The array of seniors that so valiantly represented the school in the postseason is now exiting.
Both Standley Lake and Cañon City were witnesses to how good this Raptors team was. Each was a victim of a shutout in back-to-back rounds to start the playoffs.
It was the Raptors who bore the brunt of an offensive deficiency this time. The onslaught from the Kadets, only two seasons removed from a state title, was just too much.
“Our plan was just to play like dogs and go out there with intensity,” senior Jacob Van Ens said. “I think that early on the game, we made a couple of defensive mistakes. I think if they didn’t have those couple of counterattacks where we broke down, it’s a different result.”
The damage was done in the first half of play. Goals from Kadets senior Thaddaeus Dewing in the 12th minute and junior Jett Neubacher at the conclusion of the 26th minute gave the Raptors their first taste of adversity in their spirited title chase. Senior Adin Schwenke and Raptors’ sophomore Ethan Davis’ offsetting goals in the second half for each squad failed to alter the margin.
A losing effort in trying to overcome a deficit says nothing of the Raptors’ season. It will be one remembered for grit, not weakness.
“It was one hell of a way to go out,” senior Dylan Weiss said. “It’s been an awesome season, especially with 13 seniors. We should all be proud of each other.”
It’s up to Davis, the lone Raptors’ scorer in the game and others to continue the foundation laid down by the team’s leaders.
The 2020 season will be one characterized by a large transition. Bypassing the bar set this year is the plan.
“We’ve made the second round three years in a row and now this,” Johnson said. “I feel like going forward, we do lose a lot of players. Trying to set the mindset was a big thing. I think these guys proved to be a good example of what we need moving forward.”