LAKEWOOD — Ready or not, the Chatfield Chargers are heading into the Class 5A state soccer playoffs this week.
With a decisive 3-0 victory Oct. 22 over rival Dakota Ridge to wrap up the regular season, the Chargers believe they have found their identity and know what they are capable of when they have all their players together.
“I think we got it now,” senior midfielder Cory Whittwer said. “I mean, it took a while. Brand new team this year for the most part.”
Overhauled, a bit unpredictable and without a Jefferson County League title for the first time since 2004, the Chargers (8-5-1) have enough talent and tradition to turn some heads amidst a wide open postseason field.
“I think we got some good depth going into the playoffs, which I think will help us – guys that played a lot this season,” Chatfield coach Paul Moline said. “We’ve got good speed, when we use it, on the flanks. As long as we long as we play the ball quick, we’re OK.”
The Chargers controlled the play against the Eagles at Lakewood Memorial Field and got goals from Logan Bailey, Cameron Mohseni and Billy Presson for the victory. The Chargers had the lion’s share of possession and peppered Eagles’ goalkeeper Trevor Weilbach with shots throughout the night.
Bailey opened the scoring when he ran on to a great ball up the middle and slotted it home with the 18th minute.
Mohseni gave the Chargers a 2-0 lead nine minutes before halftime when pounced on the rebound of an initial save by Weilbach and jammed the ball into the back of the net.
The Chargers swarmed for nearly the entire 80 minutes, as Weilbach and his defense did everything to keep the game close. Sophomore Zach Newberry made a great deflection in the 47th minute to clear a dangerous ball, but the Chargers would put the game away in the 58th with a header off the ground and in by Presson.
Goalies Aaron Sarfaty and Tyler Anderson shared the shutout for the Chargers.
Besides a few half-chances from Dan Wagner and others, the Eagles struggled to sustain any attack. In a season where they finished 2-9-3, coach Damon Smerchek was pleased with the attitude of his team at the end.
“They really worked hard through the last minute of the last game,” Smerchek said. “You know, with two wins, they played hard all the time. I had to drag them off the practice field yesterday, which is really nice. I’ve had seasons like this before and usually the guys are ready to be done, so it’s nice to see that.”
The feather in Dakota Ridge’s cap this season was handing Wheat Ridge its only loss of the season. Smerchek also praised the future with sophomores such as Newberry, Matthew Nelson, Jake Morawiec, Zach Lancaster and Jesse Leach.
“Our future is good, it’s just not there yet,” Smerchek said.