LONGMONT — The Holy Family boys soccer team has waited long enough.
507 days to be exact.
That is the exact number of days between their last match — a playoff loss to Centaurus in November of 2019 — and Wednesday night at Everly Montgomery Field at Longmont. Not only did the pandemic delay the normal start of the season in the fall to the novel Season C, so too did a blizzard and dangerous field conditions. So what was a six week season, suddenly was condensed to a five week sprint to the finish in whoch the Tigers will try to cram 10 games into a 25 day stretch.
The Tigers got out of the blocks a little slowly against Longmont — and that was to be expected given the layoff — but finished well, playing a complete 80 minutes for a nifty 3-1 victory over the Trojans.
“Every time, you have the anxiousness of wanting to play games and they keep getting cancelled, then you see what happens to us and we kind of come out with too much energy and it throws us off of our game plan,” said Holy Family coach David Martinez. “At the end of the day, we have a very smart and tactical team, that was able to come back and round it up.”
And considering the Tigers didn’t trail much, if at all in the 2019 season except for their playoff game, the way they responded to going down 1-0 to the winless Trojans — Cole Gaddis bagged a goal off a Cesar Martinez corner kick in the 20th minute — was a pleasant surprise.
“We didn’t experience that a whole lot last year and then when it happened to us in the playoffs, we didn’t know how to react,” Martinez said. “I’m glad to see that we’ve learned something along the way and I’m going to continue saying it, this group of boys can take us to the state championship. That’s the goal and that is what we are hopeful for.”
The shots on frame were there for Holy Family and they pepper Longmont goalie Connor Taylor with nine shots in the opening 40 minutes and the finally got their equalizer in the 34th minute. Dynamic midfielder Dylan McIntosh’s perfect cross to Jackson Ward left Taylor with no chance, and the Tigers were on the board.
The match went to the break 1-1, but momentum was clearly on the side of Holy Family. The same duo hooked up again in the 55th minute, when McIntosh at the top of the box slid a through ball to Ward and the junior finished with ease just inside the near post.
“Losing Alden (Bennett, who opted for the club root this spring) certainly hurts, with his speed and ability to get behind the back line is important and something we will miss, but watching Jackson develop and his ability to transition from basketball to soccer just like that and get you two goals right away is awesome,” Martinez said. “You’ve got an athlete who is big and strong, but is also very smart.”
After dodging an Longmont tying goal in the 65th minute when Gavin O’Brien hit the post past goalie Jack Krueger, Ward would add an assist to his brilliant 2021 debut to senior forward Alex Kusek.
Krueger, a sophomore, didn’t have much work to do, making three saves in his first varsity start in goal.
HOLY FAMILY 3, LONGMONT 1
At Everly Montgomery Field
Holy Family (1-0, 1-0) 1 2 — 3
Longmont (0-4, 0-4) 1 0 — 1
Goals — L: Cole Gaddis (Ceasar Martinez), 20′; HF: Jackson Ward (Dylan McIntosh), 34′; Ward (McIntosh), 55′; Alex Kusek (Ward), 68′.
Saves (Min.-GA-Saves) — Holy Family: Jack Kreuger (80-1-3); Longmont: Connor Taylor (80-3-14)
Shots on goal — HF 17, Longmont 4. Corner kicks — HF 7, Longmont 1. Fouls — HF 6, Longmont 7. Yellow cards — McIntosh. Red card — Gianni Maine.