LONGMONT — Silver Creek freshman Kael Pacaro didn’t think he’d make the varsity team coming into tryouts this season.
Now he’s a major part of the Raptors’ promising young core.
Even in a narrow 3-2 defeat to undefeated Windsor Friday night, Pacaro’s brilliant play was perhaps a sign of more good things to come for a program dealing with so many current obstacles in a season flipped upside down by the pandemic.
The loss — fueled by two late goals by WHS’ John Burnett — stung. But for a team starting multiple freshmen and underclassmen, the result wouldn’t be a point of frustration.
“With so many first-time freshmen, it honestly went way better than I could have hoped for in this game,” junior captain Andrew Van Ens said. “We were put under a ton of pressure. The backline dealt with it. The middle dealt with it. The strikers scored. It was a good game.”
And one heck of a finish.
In the 72nd minute, Burnett’s free kick from 20 yards out swished the back of the net to undo a 1-1 stalemate. He added a PK winner with 52 seconds remaining before Dalmiro Naveira beat the buzzer with a goal off a free kick for Silver Creek.
Before Burnett’s PK, Silver Creek had nearly evened things in the waning minutes of regulation. Sophomore Luke Masson was close to true on an acrobatic header, but it drifted just high of the net. Naveira, minutes before his buzzer-beater, also maneuvered into the box for a chance before defenders broke up his attempt.
“We played our hearts out,” Pacaro said. “We can walk away with our heads held high.”
The future seems bright for the Raptors. This season, though, is just strange.
Silver Creek, playing in just its fourth game due to earlier snowstorm postponements, will play its final six games in 12 days starting Monday.
And even with a respectable 2-2 record, no matter how it finishes, it will likely have a tough time making its 10th straight trip to the postseason.
Instead in its first season in Class 5A, Silver Creek must hope to grab one of the classification’s four at-large bids to make its shrunken, 16-team field. Most teams in the reworked boys soccer season have the ability to nab an automatic qualifying spot in their league, but the Raptors can’t in the newly-formed 5A/4A NCAC since it doesn’t have enough 5A teams (two) to abide under the state’s current postseason requirements.
“As a coach, it’s a little disappointing,” Silver Creek’s Rob Johnson said. “Even if we run the table, it’s not a guarantee.”
Windsor opened the scoring in the 26th minute off the corner kick. Off a hop, Matisse Sakariassen got a clean header inside the box for his sixth goal in seven games this season.
Silver Creek knotted the game up in the 36th on a beautiful touch from Pacaro. Running down a long pass from the midfield, Pacaro lifted a chance over the left shoulder of Wizards keeper Daniel Bouma.
“I just blinked and it happened,” Pacaro said. “My first goal in varsity as a freshman is a big thing. I didn’t expect to be on this team. But I feel like I’m good enough and I think I proved it today and the other games we played as well.”
Silver Creek will face the other 5A team in the league when it travels to Skyline Monday. Windsor will host Mead Monday before having a week off before its regular-season finale against the Falcons.