Demons Stay on Top of Regional Rankings, at 9-2
TELLURIDE – The Telluride High School soccer pitch was the scene of the most exuberant victory celebration it has seen in some time Thursday, when the Miners upset the No. 1-ranked Ridgway Demons in a thrilling 1-0 contest. With a gaggle of paragliders drifting earthward serving as a perfectly timed backdrop to the victory celebration, members of THS’ boys soccer squad and its swelling crowd of maroon-and-white-clad supporters celebrated the win with such unbridled gusto that an onlooker could be led to believe the victory was a significant one – a State title, perhaps – and not merely a regular season game whose outcome wouldn’t much change the fates of either team.
But the Miner win was more a triumph of honor than substance, coming in the first year Telluride High School held its Homecoming festivities in the fall and not during the winter basketball season. But perhaps even more significant was that it served as a Miner retribution for three years of losses to their closest rivals. “It felt really good, after they beat us 6-0 in the last game, to finally stick it to them,” said THS senior Austin Koenig following the game, in which he drilled in the winning goal in the first half off an assist from Keith Hill. The first-half Telluride goal represented the only break in the Demons’ nearly impenetrable armor. Hill jettisoned a short ball to the waiting Koenig, who nailed it into the upper left corner. “I hit it with everything I had,” Koenig said of the shot, which the Demon goalie stood no chance of capturing as it sailed high into the corner of the net. The Demons’ offense woke up in the second half, pelting the Miner defense with a series of well-coordinated scoring efforts. But with players like Doug Smith and Nicki Jones staying tough in the backfield, Ridgway found few open corridors to the Telluride net. And when they did, they found little reprieve with Miner goalie Brendan Kelley shutting down each Demon attempt to tie the game. Coach Mick Hill, who will be taking over for three-year THS head coach Ryan Kusuno, said the win represented a coordinated effort by each of the team’s members. Pulling out a win over the No. 1 ranked team in Telluride’s league represented a good morale-booster for the Miners, but also served as “good revenge for the 6-0 drubbing” Ridgway handed Telluride just three weeks ago. “I was so happy for the boys and for the coaches,” THS Athletic Director Mike Hughes said after the win. “They have worked hard and deserved to catch a break and they capitalized on it… Just a great way for those kids to remember a wonderful Homecoming.”
Telluride beat Crested Butte 3-2 Tuesday in Crested Butte, and plays Lake City in the final home game of the season on Friday, at the THS field at 4 p.m.
Ridgway plays their final home game of the season on Friday as well, against Crested Butte, at 4 p.m. at the Solar Ranch field.
The Demons stand at the top of the regional rankings with a 9-2 record.