Fans of the 3A Southwestern (a.k.a. Intermountain) League would be hard-pressed to find an instance of such a veteran boys' soccer team facing such an inexperienced one as what transpired Tuesday on the Wolverine Country Stadium pitch.
In fact, had both Bayfield's Chris Zoltowski and Telluride's Ramon Rodriguez so desired, if even for just a minute in the match's early goings, spectators could have actually seen an all-senior starting 11 (THS has that many) come off one bench and an all-freshman lineup (BHS has that many) enter off the other.
And even if that had happened, there still would have been almost nowhere to go but up for the ultra-young Wolverines, who'd started the 2018 campaign falling 8-nil to Crested Butte just three days earlier.
"Yeah, we have a pretty young team so they're going to get the feel for a high-intensity game," said attacking midfielder Dylan Doskocil, one of BHS' three seniors and the only one returning with any substantial varsity experience. "Once they get the feel for it, and work on their skills personally, get the flow of the match, as a team...we'll be able to bring it to our league games."
That development's already emerging, and Rodriguez got to see it firsthand. THS senior Ian Enkema got the scoring started eight minutes in, chest-trapping a throw-in and volleying it over senior goalie Bailee Blakeslee.
Working well in tandem with front-line attacker Mattia DiBello, Doskocil beat Telluride keeper Tommy Wells with a low shot in the 20th, but the ball clanged off the far post and was eventually cleared to safety.
Doskocil's family is hosting DiBello, an exchange student from Italy who is attending BHS this year.
"We have a lot of time together, talk about soccer, so we've got good chemistry going." Doskocil said of DiBello. "We both have attributes that help motivate each other."
Telluride senior Manny Loya put the guests up 2-0 with a goal in the 33rd, but Blakeslee played well overall in the net before Caleb Lake, a freshman, took over for the second half.
And though Telluride greeted Lake quickly in the 42nd minute with a goal, the goalie prospect settled into his role even faster. Making multiple sliding stops as well as a solid catch against his body of a particularly hard THS shot, Lake allowed only a 63rd-minute Loya shot, assisted by Enkema, to get past him, leaving Zoltowski visibly upbeat about his crew.
Up next, Bayfield (0-2 overall) will host non-league Manitou Springs (0-0, 0-0 3A Tri-Peaks) on Friday, Aug. 31, with kickoff set for 4 p.m. The Mustangs went 12-3-1 overall in 2017, but were upset in the State Tournament's first round by Lafayette-based Dawson School.
"They're going to be a tough team. They go to Playoffs, like, every year, are regular winners," Doskocil said. "It's just another game that we're going to be able to get all of our kinks out in, and progress as a team."