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FORT LUPTON — With a “win or go home” mentality, the Fort Lupton’s boys soccer team has been erring toward the former.
The Bluedevils beat Northridge 1-0 and tied No. 8-ranked Centaurus 2-2 to start the season. When the third game against Silver Creek was postponed Aug. 28 because no game officials showed up, Fort Lupton won the controlled practice against the Raptors 3-0.
The regular game will be made up later in the season.
“The first two games have been playoff-style, very fast-paced,” FLHS coach Archie Suniga said. “That’s what we’ve told the kids. Every game has to have that win-or-go-home mentality. We have two goals – to make the playoffs and then winning a state championship. Anything short of that is, in our opinion, a disappointing season.”
Fort Lupton is coming off its first playoff win in boys soccer in school history last season. Thirteen seniors are on the roster. The top returning goal scorer is midfielder Genardo Arellano, who had 11 a year ago. Forward Victory Sanchez scored seven times. Cecilio Vasquez added five.
Oscar Garfio (a goals-against average of 2 in 2013) and Jesus Arellano (a goals-against average of 2.174) figure to see most of the time in the goalkeeping position.
“It’s the strongest team I’ve had, and that’s saying something,” said Suniga, who is starting his eighth year in charge of the Bluedevils’ fortunes. “This team is more complete. We’re a lot more balanced. It’s a senior-heavy team. A lot of the seniors have been playing junior varsity the past three years. So they are very comfortable with each other. They are connected with each other. It’s a good group.”
Francisco Arellano is the Bluedevils’ new assistant coach. He played a year at Fort Hays (Kan.) State before trying to transfer to play Metropolitan State College of Denver. However, FHSU won’t let him out of his scholarship. So, Arellano is going to Aims Community College while he waits for his next college opportunity.
“He’s been great with his experience from playing with the Colorado Rush Academy and his college team,” Suniga said. “He has some fresh new drills in practice. He’s just a fresh voice. We’ve been focusing on defense a lot these first two weeks, and it’s shown. If the boys can commit to good, all-around defense, we’re going to be tough to beat.”
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