Roaring Fork soccer playoff run ends with 1-0 home loss to Liberty Common; BHS falls

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs Post Independent correspondent
Roaring Fork senior defender Bennett Jardine heads the ball away from Liberty Common senior midfielder Brady Poore during the Rams 1-0 playoff loss to the Eagles Tuesday night in Carbondale.
John Stroud/Glenwood Springs Post Independent correspondent

Roaring Fork High School’s bid for a second Class 3A boys soccer championship ended Tuesday night at home in Carbondale at the hands of perennial powerhouse Liberty Common out of Fort Collins.

The Eagles claimed the 1-0 win off a penalty kick in the 62nd minute of play, after the Rams defense got called for the foul in the box. 

Liberty Common senior captain Brady Poore was good past the outreached arms of Roaring Fork goalie Noel Richardson, and the ninth-seeded Eagles held on through the final 18 minutes of play to secure the second-round playoff win on the No. 8 Rams’ home field.

The Rams had their chances throughout, dominating control of the ball in the first half but just missing on several quality runs at the goal.

“If we expect to win games, we have to put chances away in front of the goal,” veteran Roaring Fork coach Nick Forbes said afterward. “We make one mistake at the back that turns into a goal, and that’s the difference.

“We put some of those away when we have dominance, and the game changes in our favor.”

The Eagles made some halftime adjustments that paid off with scoring chances in the 46th and 49th minutes, but Richardson stood stout in goal for the Rams with several key saves.

Roaring Fork senior Yusbani Duarte thought he had rolled one past Liberty Common senior goalie Max Frevert in the 54th minute of play. However, Eagles senior defender Patrick Wrona got a foot on the ball just inches in front of the goal line to kick it away and preserve the scoreless match to that point.

A series of runs at the goal finally paid off for Liberty Common when the Rams got called for the foul, leading to the go-ahead goal. Roaring Fork couldn’t convert on a couple of set plays down the stretch, and the Eagles held on for the win to advance to the quarterfinals of the 3A tournament.

“It’s always a good battle, but it’s sad,” Liberty Common head coach Cyrus Salehi said after his team’s win. “(Roaring Fork) is easily a quarterfinal, semifinal or championship team like us, and the brackets have us playing each other in the second round.

“They got the better of us in the first half, and we knew coming in how they were going to play,” Salehi said. 

He added, “In the second half we switched some things up and played a little better, and we shut down (Rams senior and leading scorer Jake Barlow), which was a good game plan. He’s a great player, they’re well-coached, and they’re a great program. I have nothing negative to say about them.”

Liberty Common moves to 11-3-3 on the season, and will now face top-seeded Colorado Academy in the state quarterfinals on Saturday.

Roaring Fork concludes the season at 11-4-2, and bids adieu to 13 senior players, including Barlow, Richardson, Duarte, team captain Josh Hernandez, Foster Hayes, Bennett Jardine, Gabriel Salas, Cooper Chacos, Yandel Silva, Jose Canas, Jeffrey Candela, Eli Cohen and Maddox Stainton.

In other second-round playoff action involving area teams Tuesday, No. 6 Rifle won 2-0 at home over No. 11 Fort Lupton, No. 15 Coal Ridge upset No. 2 Kent Denver 3-2 on the road, and No. 19 Basalt lost 3-2 to No. 3 Peak to Peak.

The Longhorns finished the season 8-6-3 overall, the first under coach Thomas Olson.