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Bayfield, Pagosa Springs set for key showdown in boys soccer

Win at M-CHS positions Bayfield for chance at league title
Bayfield senior Asher Madonna (5) distributes a pass under the watchful eye of Montezuma-Cortez senior Raul Soto during 3A Southwestern League action Tuesday. Madonna would tally the Wolverines' second goal in a 3-0 victory over the Panthers. (Courtesy of Joel Priest)

Fresh off a road victory, the Bayfield boys soccer team will close out regular-season play vying for the 3A Southwestern League championship at home on Friday night.

Bayfield’s will host Pagosa Springs on Senior Night. The two sides played each other back on Sept. 22 at Golden Peaks Stadium, which resulted in a 1-1 draw.

The Wolverines enter the long-awaited rematch at just about the right time, having put together back-to-back wins – with the latest being their 3-0 win Tuesday at Montezuma-Cortez.

Bayfield (8-4-1, 4-0-1 in league play) netted two first-half goals, then added one after intermission to help ensure a fifth clean sheet in 2023.

The Wolverines first struck in the 23rd minute with Shae Railsback scoring a goal. Asher Madonna scored in the 34th minute to make it 2-0, and Railsback dropped the proverbial gavel in the 69th minute.

Sophomores Ayden Casillas, Tauer Crotty and Lane Hunter were all credited with assists.

Having allowed four goals in SWL play, compared to BHS’ two, the Pagosa Springs (6-6-2, 4-0-1 SWL) will enter Wolverine Country Stadium having lost three of its last four matches.

However, the Pirates faced quality opposition. Pagosa Springs fell 6-0 to 4A Mead (now 8-3-4 overall after a 1-1 draw against Holy Family on Wednesday) and 5-0 at 3A Tri-Peaks League member Salida (7-4-2 entering Thursday's match against Woodland Park).

That defeat, however, occurred back on Oct. 3, meaning the Pirates will not have seen competition in nearly three weeks – raising the question of whether they’ll come out rested or rusty once the opening whistle sounds at 6 p.m.

To the Wolverines, though, the only issue at hand is how they will perform with not only the SWL title at stake, but also a guaranteed spot in the 32-team CHSAA Class 3A State Tournament.

As of noon Thursday, BHS and PSHS were 32nd and 33rd, respectively, in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Selection & Seeding Index.

“We’ll beat them … if we can just stay composed and play how we should play,” sophomore Zach Hufnagel said earlier this season, when discussing Pagosa Springs. “I think we’ve just got to play our game.”

Ben Bradley of The Journal contributed to this article.

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