LAKEWOOD — The Chatfield Chargers have shown during the boys soccer regular season that they have plenty of talent.
The Chargers have solid goalkeeping, a seamless defense, a midfield that can play the ball direct or wide to either wing, and plenty of forwards and attacking midfielders that can finish. So ee
“It makes you wonder why we don’t do that more often,” junior winger Cory Whittwer said after the Chargers held on for a 2-1 Class 5A Jefferson County League victory Oct. 15 over rival Dakota Ridge.
The Chargers (11-3-1, 8-1 in Jeffco), who got goals from Ryan Martin and Dylan Hall, dominated possession but were often guilty of being too apt to pass rather than rip a shot.
“We’ve got kids that can hit from all over the field, but we always wait for that perfect shot, or we build in too tight for a shot at times,” Chatfield coach Paul Moline said.
The Eagles (6-8-1, 4-4-1) were tentative and lacked creativity and shape in midfield until the final 15 minutes when they suddenly came alive on Skylar Roy’s goal in the 66th. Roy cut the deficit to 2-1 and the game opened up for both teams to make long runs with support.
“I agree with that. We started out slow,” Eagles junior forward Dan Wagner said. “We had help, it’s just that our heads weren’t in it the first half. When someone made a run there was no second run, there was just no one to follow up that long ball.”
The teams combined for just three shots on goal in the first half, but one was a fluky goal for the Chargers.
The ball was lobbed into the penalty area and Roy misjudged his clearance header. With his eyes in the sun, Eagles keeper Trevor Weilbach seemed to hesitate long enough for Martin to rush in and head it home.
The Chargers continued to dictate the game into the second half and went up 2-0 after a great run down the left side by Jake Meyer. Billy LaGreca set Meyer on his way with a pass and the junior took it nearly to the end line before cutting a pass to center for Hall to rip home.
“I think that’s the mental part,” Eagles coach Jason Casanova said. “I think they go in knowing we’re playing a top-10 team and they’re saying, ‘I don’t know if we can do this.’ That’s where the hesitation comes.”
The Eagles finally responded after Roy’s goal off a quickly-taken free kick.
Chatfield, the Jeffco champions, were seeded No. 6 in the 32-team 5A state playoff bracket. The Chargers face No. 27 Abraham Lincoln in the first round with the winner playing either No. 11 Regis or No. 22 Aurora Central.
The Eagles were seeded No. 28 and will visit No. 5 Heritage in the first round with the winner playing the winner of No. 12 Hinkley and No. 21 Fairview.