LAFAYETTE — It took 10 whole games, and 6 minutes and 2 seconds of extra time, but the Longmont boys soccer team finally captured the elusive victory it had been chasing throughout Season C.
At Centaurus High School on Friday night, the Trojans exited regulation time in a scoreless stalemate with the host Warriors. Then the ball found the feet of senior Bryan Saenz, who turned and fired it into the back of the opposing goal to give Longmont its first win in what was the final act of the Trojans’ season in 2021.
The victory concluded a physically and emotionally burdensome several weeks of having to fight through a season bereft of goals and wins amidst a global pandemic. The moment Saenz sent the Trojans off the field victorious to end the campaign will also forever change how he and his teammates remember their high school soccer careers.
“When I saw that goal go in, I just started yelling and screaming with the rest of my teammates,” Saenz said. “We had a rough start to the season but we knew we had to finish with a strong win. Playing 17 days with 10 games and seven practices was something we definitely didn’t see coming this season. We’ve all had injuries. I sprained my ankle and pulled my hamstring. But we all wanted to come out here in our last game and finish strong.”
Starting to find their form offensively, the Trojans (1-8-1, 1-8-1 NCAC) have scored four of their six goals in the last three games. Still, their frustration had continued to mount after losing their four games leading up to Friday’s finale by a combined five goals. Prior to the NCAC contest, the Warriors (1-7, 1-7), who were Class 4A quarterfinalists last season, were averaging 3.7 goals against but held the Trojans to the lone Saenz score.
While Centaurus will head north to Longmont and take on Skyline (1-5-1, 1-5-1) on Saturday morning, Longmont’s season is over and Trojans head coach Andy Callaway couldn’t have asked for a more fitting end.
“It means everything to these kids,” Callaway said, fighting back tears. “They put in so much work and these seniors, the last few games we lost by one goal and Loveland got us by two. It all came together at the end and they finally got to feel what it feels like to walk off the field a winner. It’s been a short, fast 10 games and words can’t describe how happy I am for these kids.
“Every single one of the seniors were out on the field and they won the game for themselves.”