“We were hoping to see them come out strong and dictate the game”
By Than Acuff
The Crested Butte Titans got back on the winning track last week with a 6–1 win over Caprock Academy and now take a break before their final two league games next week with the state tournament set to begin the week after.
The Titans had just wrapped up their toughest week of the season prior to the Caprock game with ties against Telluride and Gunnison and a hard-fought loss to Vail Mountain on Friday, September 29.
“It was a good week in that we learned a lot about ourselves,” says coach Bradley Davies. “We learned how important the details are and that details and maximum effort will be the difference down the stretch. It left us humble yet hungry.”
The three-game stretch also left the Titans short-handed as they lost starting striker Kai Greene to injury in the final minutes of the Vail Mountain game.
As a result, the coaching staff called on some players to step into new roles as they prepared for Caprock and hoped to see the team in a new light with a new plan.
“Without Kai we had a new puzzle to solve,” says Davies. “We were hoping to see them come out strong and dictate the game.”
The new line-up did cause some confusion early on and Caprock Academy gave the Titans some trouble with pressure in the midfield and a well-organized defense. The Titans eventually broke the seal on Caprock’s goal 12 minutes into the game as a pass from Sawyer Barney to Shawn Moran set up a strike and a 1-0 lead.
Crested Butte scored again midway through the half when Will Harpel headed in a cross from Marin Gardner and tacked on a third goal in the final minute of the first half as Joe Syson slipped a pass through to Magnus Sandusky and Sandusky poked it past the Caprock goalie for a 3-0 lead.
The Titans opened the second half on the front foot to score in the first five minutes as Moran set up Beckett Kidd for a strike from 25 yards out. Moran then picked up a loose ball to score a fifth Titan goal in the 55th minute and then Jordan Silva found Wyatt Cook open on the flank and Cook buried a shot from distance for a 6-0 lead before Caprock closed the game with a goal in the final five minutes of play.
“We were looking to get back into an attacking rhythm again and it was a good opportunity for us to do that,” says Davies.
The man of the match, though, was Will Lain for his grit. A hard tackle during the game left him dinged up but he continued to play only to find out after the game he had a broken clavicle which leaves him out for at least four weeks.
“He’s been a great senior leader all season and the fact that he kept playing is a tribute to what it means to be a Titan,” says Davies.
The team will now take a break from workouts as nearly the entire roster is out of town for the school’s October break this week. When the Titans return, they have two big games to close out the regular season as they hit the road to face Ridgway on Thursday, October 19 and then host Telluride on Saturday, October 21, with kick off at 1 p.m.
“I would love to have the boys with us all this week, but it is a good break to recharge the batteries and get ready to double down and chase a league title and a state run,” says Davies. “My hope is that we come back and outwork our opponents, dominate first and second balls, support our teammates and show that we are the toughest and hardest working team on the field.”