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Boys soccer: Centaurus defends home turf, takes NCAC title from Silver Creek 

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LAFAYETTE  — Tied atop the Northern Colorado Athletic Conference at 6-0, Silver Creek and Centaurus were given a fitting opportunity to decide the league’s winner between themselves in Friday’s regular season finale.

The Warriors’ (13-2, 7-0 NCAC) veteran group soon proved most worthy, however, as Centaurus cruised to a 3-0 home victory and secured its first league title since 2017.

“It’s just a great win and good to win league,” Warriors senior Alejandro Arellano said. “It’s been five years now and it’s a whole team effort. I love my team. We strive to be better every day and we’re just showing it every day.”

Including Arellano, three Warriors scored a goal on the evening. Junior Demitri Wiegand broke the ice with a first-half penalty kick goal before Arellano and senior Angel Maclas each added some insurance in the second half. Junior goalkeeper Garrett Pugh complimented the offensive output with a perfect night in net.

Silver Creek, which had won the league title the past two seasons, dropped to 10-5 (6-1 NCAC) but the Raptors are still likely to receive a high seed in the upcoming state playoffs.

For Centaurus, its league title was the culmination of a perfectly executed rebuild. In the COVID-19-delayed spring 2021 campaign, the Warriors were underclassmen-heavy and finished just 2-7-1 overall; they improved to 8-8 that fall, but everything finally came together this season. Many of those same former underclassmen from two seasons ago now have a league championship to their name.

“It feels good, a lot of work,” Arellano said. “I was on varsity my sophomore year, a hard season. Then came my junior year, (and) we made first-round playoffs, I didn’t play (with an) injury. But now we’re here. I feel good about my team, and I feel like we can make it far into playoffs.”

At the helm, head coach David Wood, who was promoted to his current role after being the interim leader last season, finished the job that former longtime Centaurus head coach Lee Stanley had begun.

“This team has been working toward this for several years,” Wood said. “I was lucky enough to step in at just this moment, but they’re the ones who earned it and I’m so proud of them.”

Stanley was still in attendance on Friday, and he watched from afar as his grown-up Warriors celebrated their league championship.

Both Silver Creek and Centaurus now turn their focus to the Class 4A state playoffs, which begin with first-round games next Thursday. Coming into Friday, the Warriors and Raptors were fifth and sixth, respectively, in the CHSAA RPI.

“Playoffs are always a wild ride,” Wood said. “We just got to fight as hard as we can every single game and not rest on our laurels at all and hope for the best.”