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Demons in for soccer finale
Written by: Joel Priest
With a post-season worthy robbery of Pirate senior Eli Stephens, after initially slapping away a high-bouncing, 78th-minute crossing pass deep inside the penalty area, BHS’ Ben Young not only superbly assumed his brother’s role Tuesday but also showed the Wolverine faithful a positive preview of 2013.
“I came in there knowing I had some pretty big shoes to fill,” said the sophomore of sticking a second-half shutout on Pagosa Springs, including a crouching catch of senior Dean Hampton’s low 25-yarder through traffic in the 67th.
“And I knew that Pagosa had some good shooters on their team. Think I even leveled James at one point…but you’ve got to do whatever it takes to block the shot.”
Which senior James Young had done three days before, but sustained an injury barely ten minutes in against Telluride—PSHS’ opponent today—which made an early Pirate invasion all but inevitable. The only question, with seldom-tested sophomore Bailey Ludwig starting in net, was how long it would take.
The answer at Wolverine Country Stadium came in only the second minute of action, as Springs senior Diego Gutierrez outran defenders to a pass in space and calmly finished the breakaway—the visitors’ first of four strikes in the opening half.
“One bone in my right pinky is shattered, so I’m pretty much out as goalkeeper,” said James Young, “and anything that really has to do with my hands. For the foreseeable future, three to four weeks.”
Having gutted out the bulk of Bayfield’s 3-nil home loss to THS—getting all its goals after the incident—James Young, moved into the field with protective padding shrouding a purple cast, nearly responded offensively himself in the third. But after a solid 50-yard dash along the ‘home’ sideline, his long blast at Pagosa senior Quinn Smith clanged off the crossbar behind and to the goalie’s left.
“We have a strong offense whether I play in the field or play in net,” stated the elder Young. “I think that if we can just meld as a unit, not just a group of individuals, then we’ll be that much stronger and can take it that much more to Ridgway [whom PSHS edged 2-1 last Saturday, prior to visiting BHS].”
The Demons—the final enemy facing seniors Young, Devin Wilson, Keith Wickman, Myles Popke, Kenai Duran, Orvik Lozano and Austin Shupe—and Wolverines kick off this afternoon at 4 p.m., with BHS hoping to channel the second-half energy used against Springs into another full-match effort like what was presented Sept. 28 [a 1-0 loss] in Ridgway.
“We just had our minds set during that game,” said Duran, “and wanted to go out there and push it to them. Be a stick in their butt!”
“I’m going to miss it for sure,” he added about suiting up for battle one final time. “Hope to continue after high school, and I hope these guys have the best of luck without me and the seniors.”
“I’m of a mixed mind. I don’t want it to end, but at the same time I’m looking forward to my next sport—wrestling,” said Young. “But…it’s going to be kind of surreal next season—not being able to come back, put on my shoes and kick a ball with the guys. That’s technically against CHSAA regulations for me to come practice with them, so I won’t be able to play. That’s going to be the hardest thing.”
Ben Young finished with six total saves versus Pagosa, and Ludwig nine as the Pirates (10-3, 9-2 3A Southwestern) fired 27 total (17 on frame) shots in the victory. Gutierrez netted again in the 16th minute, and classmate Garret Lyle scored in the 17th and the 35th—that via a header, after having just re-entered on one of Lindsey Kurt-Mason’s regular multi-player substitutions.
Bayfield (2-10-2, 2-9-0) managed five shots, putting four on Smith who, despite having three to four defenders guarding him at all times, was later forced to make several non-shot stops under duress inside the 18 for a grand total of eight saves.
“We haven’t beaten Pagosa in…I don’t know how many years—it’s kind of a sore spot,” James Young said of BHS’ closing charge. “One day I just want to put the hurt on them as they’ve put on us.”
“I’m excited for this next game,” said Ben Young. “Last of the season and I want to play it well.”
Count on Ridgway to offer him as many opportunities as possible.
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