Assessing the Wolverines' performance in a 3-2 home loss to Alamosa Saturday afternoon, Sept. 15, junior co-captain Weslee Blakeslee was upbeat despite the outcome.
"We knew this game was going to be a fight coming into it, but I was just glad to see the chemistry build up," he said. "And if they scored, just keep the pressure, keep our heads up because we know we could win this game. It was great to see Dylan and Jason just work up the field and take those shots, be confident in themselves."
Senior Dylan Doskocil, healing right ankle and all, blasted in a 30-yard free kick in the 53rd minute to spark a second-half rally. Junior Jason Schneider later cashed a running back-post try past AHS goalie Jon Spangler in the 70th to give the adrenalin-fueled Wolverines added hope.
Only a dubious offside violation prevented Schneider from at least tying the battle on a 78th-minute breakaway, leaving BHS particularly eager to take the pitch again.
The match had with ramifications for the Southwestern (a.k.a. Intermountain) League's Class 3A-level standings.
On Tuesday's trip to Telluride, senior foreign-exchange student Mattia DiBello was more than ready for BHS' second go-round with the Miners, but the Miners were wisely ready for him and gained the vital 1-0 upper hand via junior Matheau Richard's 16th-minute goal assisted by senior Manny Loya.
DiBello introduced himself to the Judy Long Memorial Field faithful by equalizing in the 32nd, and with the score level at 1-1 going into halftime, confidence in the Bayfield camp was again running high.
"The boys are starting to understand positioning and diagonal runs," explained head coach Chris Zoltowski. "They are retaining our training and starting to understand its value."
Alertly looking to turn the tide as quickly as possible, THS sophomore Jack Courter opened second-half scoring with a goal less than one minute after the restart of play, and junior Jonah Jodlowski then bombed in a shot from near midfield about 13 minutes later, upping the veteran-blessed Miners' lead to 3-1.
"Their program has 45 athletes to our 20, and 12 of them are seniors," Zoltowski said. "We knew going into this game, it was going to be win big-lose big."
Telluride senior Brian Sosa scored in the 59th, and Richard then bounced a 63rd-minute shot off a Wolverine and THS went up 5-1 via the unfortunate redirection. Another unlucky break increased the Miners' advantage to five goals, when senior Sam Borup drilled a free kick off a Bayfielder in the 68th.
But just as in the Alamosa match, Schneider managed to strike in the 70th to reinvigorate the visitors.
Telluride, however, emphatically settled the issue, 7 to 2, in the 79th when junior Guillermo Flores converted a feed from senior Ian Enkema.
The Miners improved to 5-2-1 overall, 5-1-0 against the full 3A/2A Southwestern, and remained 1-1-0 against its 2A teams, while the Wolverines slipped to 1-6, 1-5, 1-1 (against the 3A SWL) going into their Sept. 22 road match at 4A Kirtland Central. Unfortunately, Bayfield will be without Doskocil, who received a disqualifying two yellow cards in the physical clash. Schneider picked up one.
"It's great having Dylan out there leading this young team and helping them understand our system," said Zoltowski. "I think he got frustrated with the aggressiveness and took ownership of his position of team captain. We'll miss him Saturday, but I have no doubt he'll continue preparing them for our next league match."
Going into the 11 a.m. kickoff, KCHS stands 4-6 overall after a 7-1 win at Pagosa Springs on the 18th. Winless so far in 2018, PSHS (0-7, 0-5 3A/2A SWL, 0-4 3A SWL) will visit CBCS on the 22nd.