AURORA — One player and a controversial call in the last 15 seconds of the game helped end what was a promising season for the Chatfield Chargers as they fell 2-1 to the Rangeview Raiders in the first round of the Class 5A state soccer tournament.
Davey Anderson scored both goals for the No. 16-seeded Raiders, but it was the last 15 seconds of the match that had the No. 17-seeded Chargers hot as they left the field.
With the ball out of bounds deep in the Rangeview end, the Raiders took their time backing up while the Chargers pleaded for the referees to stop the clock.
When the refs refused and time ran out with Chatfield hoping for one last scoring chance, the Chargers went into a frenzy that saw senior Cory Whittwer get a red card.
“We weren’t a composed a team and we blew our cool and it should have never got to there,” Charger coach Paul Moline said. “The referee probably should have made a call and stopped the clock like he did the rest of the game, but obviously he didn’t and that’s where we completely lost our cool.”
Despite the disappointment, Charger players weren’t blaming the officials solely for the loss.
“In my opinion it was the wrong call, it was a really bad call. But we lost on other chances, it wasn’t just the ref that ruined the game for us,” senior co-captain Grant Maestas said.
Unfortunately for the Chargers, it was their play mixed with the outstanding play of Rangeview’s Anderson that made the late non-call a factor in the match.
Chatfield played back on their heels for most of the first half, not generating many scoring chances while the Raiders dictated the play.
The Chargers got a small break in the first half when Martin Nandih of Rangeview received a red card, forcing the Raiders to play a man down for the rest of the match. However, the Chargers were unable to take advantage and Anderson scored his first goal a few minutes later.
The goal, an outstanding individual effort, saw Anderson flip the ball to himself off of a long pass, split two defenders and loft the ball over the head of the Chatfield goaltender.
Chatfield entered the half down 1-0 and needing an adjustment to get back in the game, which they would do early in the second half.
The Chargers came out fighting early and were able to tie the game less than three minutes into the second half on goal by senior Conrad Bess off of a corner kick.
“That’s how we had played most of the season and that’s how we want to play,” Moline said. “In the first half we just sat back and tried to defend and were more worried about them than what we wanted to do in the game and that was the difference.”
The game would remain tied for just under 13 minutes when Armstrong would power home his second goal off of a free kick from near the top of the penalty box after a Chatfield foul.
“He was just on his game and had a few amazing shots. If he wouldn’t have stepped up, we probably would have won that game,” Maestas said of Armstrong’s play.
Penalties were a problem for the Chargers as Chatfield players would receive five yellow cards throughout the match.
The Chargers, despite a few good chances, were unable to score in the final 24 minutes and the season would end in disappointment for Chatfield, which finished second in the Jefferson County League.