Friday’s soccer game between Durango High School and St. Pius X had a bit of everything – a 53-minute delay to find officials, great goals, a playoff-like atmosphere, overtime in the dark.
What it didn’t have, however, was a winner.
New Mexico No. 2 (maxpreps.com) St. Pius X from Albuquerque and Colorado Class 4A No. 9 Durango (The Denver Post) battled each other and the rapidly approaching dark for a 2-2 draw after 80 minutes and 10 minutes of overtime at Riverview Sports Complex.
The game started 53 minutes late because of a scramble to find officials, and what transpired after was an entertaining, physical battle between two of the region’s best.
The Demons (4-0-2) had several chances late in the second half to grab the decisive goal, the best an Ian Bowers penalty kick attempt that Sartans goalkeeper Joe Sanchez dived and deflected off the post in the 63rd minute to keep the game even.
DHS midfielder Zeb Soignier said not being able to finish some quality chances late was frustrating.
“We were so close on so many chances, and we just couldn’t finish,” said Soignier, son of Brian and JoC Soignier.
The fact that nobody scored in overtime wasn’t terribly surprising. The two sides played with a more visible yellow ball in an attempt to battle the heavily descending darkness, and the Sartans even tried to shoot off the kickoff from midfield to open the first overtime, hoping Demons’ goalkeeper Will Sommerville wouldn’t see the ball as it came flying in.
The Sartans took their first lead in the 49th minute, when they were awarded a penalty kick that was one of many calls both the sizeable DHS crowd and head coach Kenny Wood weren’t pleased with in a rough-and-tumble contest. David Gros scored into the upper right-hand corner to beat Sommerville for a 2-1 lead.
Soignier, however, got DHS even with a nice individual effort in the 51st minute. He dribbled past a couple of defenders and fired off the hop from the top of the penalty area to square things at 2.
“I saw an opportunity, and I took it,” Soignier said.
DHS got on top first in the 11th minute. Bowers’ long feed to Luke Dekay allowed the latter to get off a shot that hit the far right post and began to trickle over the goal line. The Sartans defender couldn’t clear it off the line but instead put it into the net for a 1-0 Durango lead.
The Sartans answered in the 24th minute. Brian Billstrand’s free kick found the head of Alex Arvizo, who flicked it over to the head of Josh Campbell, who buried it to square the game.
“The one thing we need to get better on is our mental mistakes. It cost us I think in the tie (against Hinckley), the Farmington game, and now this game,” Wood said.
Sommerville spelled starter Ben Marvin-Vanderyn at halftime, as the starter left with what Wood called a precautionary move because of a sore shoulder. It was just one casualty in an incredibly physical contest.
St. Pius X (3-1-1) provided a test the Demons needed after coasting to a 9-0 win over Montezuma-Cortez earlier in the week. It should prepare them well for next weekend’s Southwestern League contests at Grand Junction and Montrose.
DHS also will get Daniel Fallon-Cyr back, who missed the game for personal reasons, which Wood said were related to his college search.
“The opportunities were there, and that’s what we’ve got to build upon. ... That team played physical, and ... it’s a good test for us,” Wood said.