When Donald Tafoya scored in the 60th minute Thursday, it proved to be the game-winner as Sand Creek beat Durango 4-2 to move past the first round in the 4A boys' soccer tournament.
It also gave him his 22nd goal of the season. In the Tafoya household, that was important because his sister, Christina, scored 22 as a sophomore for the Sand Creek girls' team this past spring.
“If I don't beat her I get crap from my dad,” Tafoya, a senior, said. “She actually looks up to me, so it's kind of cool.”
“Dad” is Jeremy Tafoya, Sand Creek's boys' soccer coach, who has guided his team to a 15-4 record and, now, a second-round date against Cheyenne Mountain on Saturday.
The win was anything but easy. After Justin Glivar gave Sand Creek the lead with a goal in the 12th minute, Durango (9-4-3) answered quickly and decisively. With a strong wind at their backs, the Demons played long ball, dumping the ball over the top for their strikers to run down. The tactic helped net two goals by Zeb Soignier just 59 seconds apart.
“That's my own fault; I should have switched defenses,” Jeremy Tafoya said. “I should have gone to stopper-sweeper sooner. I was surprised that they played as much kick ball as they did.”
But in the second half, Sand Creek had the wind and the long-ball tactic didn't work.
“I knew the second half was going to be a different story,” Tafoya said.
Sand Creek had two close calls in the first five minutes of the second half, both of which were snuffed out by Durango goalkeeper Patrick Leach. Leach was making his first varsity start as injuries struck the varsity keepers.
The pressure finally paid off in the 54th minute when Nestor Hernandez shouldered his way past a defender to give himself a clear path to goal to tie the match.
The Scorpions regained the lead 6 minutes later as Austin Linkous sent a perfect diagonal lob pass that landed at the feet of Donald Tafoya in full stride. Tafoya took one touch and slid a roller into the far side of the net.
“Austin played a good ball in over the top and I took a touch with my right foot,” Donald Tafoya said. “I didn't have much time to do much else so I just shot it right off the bat and it went in.”
Glivar added a second goal, assisted by Tafoya, with seven minutes remaining.
It's the second straight year that Sand Creek has made it into the second round. Last year, Jeremy Tafoya's first as coach, the Scorpions advanced as a No. 28 seed. This year, they want more.
“Last year, we weren't really respected,” Jeremy Tafoya said. “Now it's kind of the opposite. Now we're the favorite to move on and hopefully we can go pretty far.”
And give Donald a chance to pass his sister.