The Durango High School boys soccer team went 10-2-2 in the regular season and won the Class 5A/4A Southwestern League for a fourth consecutive year with a 6-1-1 record. Still, the Colorado High School Activities Association’s criteria for seeding teams for the state playoffs awarded the Demons a No. 9 seed for the state tournament and gave a team that finished below DHS in the league standings the fourth seed.
Montrose (10-3-2, 4-2-2 SWL) received the No. 4 seed for the CHSAA Class 4A Boys Soccer Championships while the Demons, who beat Montrose 2-1 on Oct. 14 and tied the Indians 3-3 on Sept. 20, were given the ninth seed.
The ninth seed guarantees the Demons only one home game in the state bracket, while Montrose is guaranteed two if it wins in the opening round.
If DHS would have been seeded one spot higher, the Demons would have earned two home games.
“I’m starting to think that I’m cursed,” DHS head coach Dalon Parker said. “My teams keep putting out these good seasons. Even with the girls last year, we had such a great spring and we got the ninth seed. I cannot seem to get one seed higher so that I can have two home games. Last year, the boys were darn near perfect and got the seventh seed.”
CHSAA uses a Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) to seed teams in state. Teams are scored based on their strength of schedule, with a formula the calculates wins of a team’s opponent and wins of that opponent’s opponents. That math equation gave Montrose an RPI score of 0.630365, while Durango scored a 0.618848.
“RPI is one of the big challenges,” Parker said. “We beat Grand Junction in our league and they got the eight seed in 5A. Technically, in the grand scheme of things, we had a worse season than Montrose because they were selected the fourth-best team in 4A, but we never lost to them. I don’t know. CHSAA needs to figure it out. Do we go straight off RPI like the last two seasons? Maybe. Do you not? Maybe.”
Parker said the one thing the RPI rankings deliver is upsets across the bracket, as was evident last year when the RPI’s top-seed, Cheyenne Mountain, was knocked out in the second round by 17-seed D’Evelyn. No seed higher than No. 3 reached the quarterfinals with four teams seeded 12 or higher making the quarterfinals.
“This year, we will see that again,” Parker said. “The field is more open this year. Air Academy is No. 1 at 15-0, but this field is more open than last year’s bracket when we knew The Classical Academy, it was gonna happen for them.”
Durango is in Air Academy’s quadrant of the bracket. DHS will open Wednesday at home against No. 24 Mitchell (8-6-1, 5-2-1 Colorado Springs Metro League). Montrose beat Mitchell 5-1 earlier this season.
“At the end of the day, we gotta get it done,” Parker said. “They are just numbers at the end of the day. We could get beat by Mitchell, and Air Academy could go get beat like last year’s top seed. We’re happy to be home for one round or as many rounds as the great Lord above gives us. This team is ready to compete and put it all on the line and try to win.”
If Durango wins Wednesday, it would face the winner of No. 8 Skyline (12-1-2, 7-0 Tri-Valley League) and No. 25 Pueblo Centennial (10-3-1, 5-0 South Central League). If Pueblo Centennial upsets Skyline, the Demons would get a second home game.
Bayfield High SchoolThe Wolverines will play playoff soccer for the first time since 2005, and now BHS knows its seed and opponent.
BHS (12-3, 9-3 Intermountain League) earned the No. 21 seed for the CHSAA 3A Boys Soccer Championships and will travel to play No. 12 Delta (12-2-1, 6-1-1 Western Slope League) on Thursday afternoon.
“I am not as concerned with the seeding; it’s about being in playing form at the right time,” BHS head coach Chris Zoltowski said. “Right now we are riding a seven-game winning streak with two of the last three being against the former league champions and a team who was undefeated at home their entire season.
“We have a few edges to polish in our game that I plan to focus on this week. I don’t want the boys to worry too much about their opponent. When they have fun and play their game, it is difficult for any opponent to keep up.”
The Wolverines are in the midst of a special season in the second year under Zoltowski. BHS went 0-12-1 in 2015 but has won 16 games since. The 12 wins this season are the most in BHS boys varsity soccer history dating back to 2000.
“Huge shoutout to Chris (Zoltowski) at Bayfield,” Parker said. “That’s freaking amazing for them to go 12-3 and make the playoffs. A 12-3 season is huge and I’m so happy for them.”
Upperclassmen who experienced the winless 2015 season and a 1-13 season in 2014 have led the team’s rise. Senior Tilden Berriman has scored 21 goals this season and has eight assists, while junior Berman Abdallah-Boehm has another seven goals. BHS senior Colton Fine has five goals and two assists, and fellow senior Marcus Isiordia has four goals and three assists. Senior Armando Lerma has been huge the last two weeks with the game-winning overtime goal against Crested Butte to lock up BHS’ place in the playoffs and another goal in the season finale against Telluride. He now has four goals and five assists.
Chad Winkler, another BHS senior, has been top-notch in goal with more than 70 saves. He is allowing fewer than one goal per game this season and has made three saves on penalty kicks.
If the Wolverines can upset Delta on the road, they would face the winner of No. 5 Denver Science & Tech School (10-4, 7-3 Frontier League) and No. 28 Vail Mountain (5-8-1, 3-4-1 Western Slope League) in the second round.
“Delta has a stubborn defense,” Zoltowski said. “The strategy is finding the right tactic to penetrate their back line.