First it was raining yellow cards, and then it was just plain raining. In a physical contest that featured plenty of hard tackles and fouls, the Pine Creek boys' soccer team got a 2-0 road victory over Cheyenne Mountain.
The 5A Eagles (3-1) and 4A Indians (2-1) weren't playing for conference standings or playoff positioning, but judging by the play on the field it was hard to tell.
The teams took turns pushing, shoving and plain running into each other, prompting plenty of stoppages from the referees and several yellow cards being handed out.
"We've always been rivals with these guys and it's always an emotional and intense game," said Pine Creek senior Nicholas Farley, who scored one of the two goals. "We want to come in and go hard in this game and come away with a win."
Bradley MacDonald got the Eagles on the board in the 18th minute on an assist from Sean Cleary. After the ball entered the box, Cleary headed it across the post to MacDonald.
"It was a great play all around and I just put the finishing touch on it," MacDonald said. "Sean was probably trying to head the ball into the net, but I like to be at the right place at the right time."
From that point, Pine Creek's 1-0 lead would hold all the way until the final stages of the game. Rain began to fall heavily with about 12 minutes left in the game, but it didn't faze Pine Creek, who took advantage of a Cheyenne Mountain miscue for its second goal.
After the Indians were called for illegal touching by the goalkeeper on a ball played back by one of his own defenders, Pine Creek had a free kick close to the Cheyenne Mountain net. While the Indians players argued with the referees, Pine Creek's Alexander Cullen made a heads-up play, quickly touching the ball to Farley who put it into the open net.
"I saw an opportunity with their players arguing with the ref and I took advantage," Cullen said. "That's probably the easiest assist I'll ever get."
The goal with 10 minutes left effectively ended the game as the rain continued to pour. The last of the yellow cards was given out in the final minute as things became even more chippy.
"This is a step in the right direction for the program," Pine Creek coach Ben Corley said. "You always want to be coming toward the ball and not backing away and that's how you respond to physical play. I was happy with how we played as a whole."
Cheyenne Mountain coach Tomas Martinez wasn't too discouraged by his team's first loss of the year.
"These are two good teams who have the bar set high for them in 4A and in 5A," Martinez said. "The big thing was we made two big mistakes and we have to learn from them. We just have to play smarter."