August 29, 2014
There's a couple surefire ways to make yourself unwelcome as the new kid in class. In Class 4A soccer, it's when you beat the defending champions early in the season and then celebrate on their field.
TCA doesn't mind the role of outcast though, as long as it comes with winning.
Thursday, Titus Grant's shot deflected off the goalkeeper and Andrew Peck cradled the rebound and scored in the 64th minute as the Titans beat state-title holder Cheyenne Mountain 1-0.
The Titans (2-0), after years of success in 3A, are showcasing how they could have similar success a class up. So far, they've beat two 4A teams that made the 2013 playoffs, outscoring Lewis-Palmer and Cheyenne Mountain 10-0.
The harder of their two wins came Thursday, a result and "celebration" that didn't go unnoticed by the host.
"Yeah they celebrated a little afterward," Indians coach Tomas Martinez said. "This was a big deal for them. I'm sure they wanted to come out with a message, and, well, I don't think our players will forget it."
TCA and Cheyenne Mountain exchanged missed chances most of the game, and then Peck gathered a deflection atop the right side of the box and hit it just out of the reach of keeper Keith Higginbotham.
"They are definitely a really good team and we had to dig a lot to get that goal," Peck, a junior midfielder, said.
Titans coach Blake Galvin credited his team's goal to patience, something that seemed almost impossible after numerous dinged posts and crossbars.
"We stayed patient and persistent," said Galvin, whose team lost in the 3A final to Colorado Academy last season. "Titus (Grant) and Jeremy (Baldes) did well for us attacking. They put pressure on and stayed patient. Sometimes it's easy to lose patience there, but that's when you make mistakes."
Grant, a sophomore forward, hit the crossbar and went high on back-to-back chances in the first half, as he and Baldes combined for 11 shots overall on Thursday.
The Indians' tenacity, in the meantime, was just a good. Early in the second half, on perhaps their best chance, Spencer Wegner gathered in the rebound from Christian "Chicken" Nehme's shot, but Wegner hit the crossbar to keep things scoreless.
They missed on 10 shots.
"I thought that's actually how the game would unfold," Martinez said. "I knew it would be back and forth, and one mistake would probably be the deciding factor. I just wish it wasn't us with the mistake."
If it wasn't the start of a pretty good 4A rivalry on Thursday, a lot of people would have been fooled at Cheyenne Mountain High School.
"I hope it will be," Galvin said afterward.
Tuesday, TCA faces Palmer Ridge and Cheyenne Mountain has Liberty.