Warriors come up just short
Demons score early in OTto dash Central's upset bid
In less than one minute Saturday, the Central High School soccer team ran the gamut of emotion in a 2-1 loss to Durango.
The Warriors entered overtime at Long Family Memorial Park on a high, amped at the chance to beat the perennial Southwestern League powerhouse.
But that high ended 30 seconds into overtime when Durango defender Taylor Graham kicked a ball from just outside the box, which sailed into the top right corner of the goal to end the game.
“It’s a tough loss,” said Central midfielder Brady Carroll, who scored the only goal of the game for the Warriors.
Durango started the game aggressively, controlling possession and working the ball into Central’s defensive third.
Throughout the game, the Demons’ aggressive striking duo of Trace Whitley and Brock Ontiveros consistently worked their way past Central’s back line.
The Demons scored their first goal in the sixth minute when Whitley worked his way into the left side of the box and chipped it past goalie Antonio Tarin.
“I tried to warn ‘em that they were going to come out swinging, and they did,” Central coach Doug Beach said. “(Durango’s players) are taught to play aggressively.
“It took them about 20 minutes to figure it out and they started to fight back.”
The Warriors improved as the game went on.
Just past the midway point of the half, Central’s Cory Rhodes worked his way into the box after taking a pass from Isaac Sikes and was fouled by Willy Frownfelter.
Carroll shot the penalty kick to the right side of the net, but the ball was stopped by goalie Casey Franklin.
Central came out of halftime with aggression. Beach said the team was fired up because of the physical nature of the game.
“They were getting angry at getting pushed around,” he said. “We just stepped it up a different way.”
Durango outshot Central in the half, but Tarin responded with six saves. He finished the game with nine.
Among the saves was a corner kick that went off the head of Durango’s Ryan Overington that Tarin pounced on when it hit the ground.
“We didn’t finish our chances and allowed Central to continue their intensity,” Durango coach Kenny Wood said.
Central had numerous scoring chances but didn’t capitalize until the 69th minute when Carroll got a shot close to the net on his own rebound.
“I took a shot, it deflected, came back to me and I just poked it in,” he said.
In the 75th minute, Central’s Jesus Perez and Cory Rhodes had a two-on-one opportunity but were stopped by Franklin, who came out of the net to cut off the angle.
Beach said despite the loss, the game was a mark of improvement for the Warriors.
“We’ve never played Durango this tough before that I’ve seen,” he said.
“They beat us 6-1 last year, now we took them to overtime and they won on a fluke goal. That’s why we play the game. I think they were surprised and I think they were worried.
“When we go down there we’re going to try and do something Central teams hardly do and win in Durango.”