The top two goal scorers in all of Colorado play for the same team. In Garrett Kramer and Alan Bautista, Sand Creek soccer has a tandem that is wearing out the nets in Southern Colorado.
"For people who come to Sand Creek in the future, I want them to see that we were the first boys team to put a name out there for Sand Creek," Kramer said. "There hasn't been a boys team yet that's won state or won league. That's my goal, and I think that's our team's goal as well.
"We knew this year would be the year for us. It's either this year or not at all, so we're really pushing for this year."
Sand Creek has outscored opponents 92-18 this season. Kramer (27 goals) and Bautista (23) have accounted for 50 of Sand Creek's 92 goals. Those 92 goals are tied for 37th-best in the nation, and lead the state by 36 goals.
"Alan has just opened it up for G," Tafoya said on Bautista, who is at Sand Creek for this year only. "I don't think a lot of people know about Alan. People look at G's stats, and they see him, and he looks like the man of the team. Alan is a tiny little guy that, for the first two games, I think teams overlooked him because of his size. I think people take him seriously now.
"It only takes three or four times in a game when you see him touch the ball, you go, 'Oh man, this kid has got something special.'"
The teams ahead of Sand Creek nationally in goal scoring have played an average of 18.5 games. Sand Creek (11-1-1) has played 13.
The Scorpions tied Cheyenne Mountain, a team that received votes in the latest CHSAANow.com soccer rankings, in double overtime last week. Then, a 4-1 loss versus No. 1 Air Academy set the Scorpions back on Tuesday.
Sand Creek's 7.5 goals per game is third in the nation between teams with at least 10 games played. 13 different players have scored goals for the Scorpions.
"The biggest thing about this team, for me, is that I honestly don't feel like we have a weakness," Tafoya said. "This is the first year that I actually have depth. We're strong in every position, these guys just score goals. They open it up for everyone else. As long as we play good defense, it's pretty hard to keep these two kids off the score sheet."
The Scorpions will be without their prolific goal scorers come season's end. Kramer will graduate in May.
"Garrett wasn't with me as a freshman," Tafoya said. "At Liberty, he didn't start, which is shocking because even as a freshman, I knew of him back then. It blew me away when he didn't start there. He's always been that kind of a game changing player."
As a senior, Kramer has stepped up into a leadership role for the Scorpions.
"The biggest thing for me with Garrett, that I love about him, he's a leader. He's one of those kids that you just want to have around," Tafoya said. "He brings people up. He's got everything to his game. He can dribble the ball, he can shoot, and I think once he added the heading to his game, that's what pushed him over the top to get to where he is with this many goals."
Bautista, a sophomore, will be gone next season as well. His dad is in the Mexican Air Force, and is training with the U.S. Army, so the family is only in Colorado Springs for the year.
"The boys had done a couple kick arounds before I stepped on the field this season," Tafoya said. "They were telling me, 'Just wait till you see Alan, wait till you see Alan.' The first practice I saw him, you know, I'm like, 'This is Alan? This little guy?'"
Tafoya was quickly proven wrong.
"The first time he touched the ball, I actually remember saying, 'Oh alright, you can tell he's played before,'" Tafoya said. "In the first game that I saw him actually play, I said, 'Oh man, this kid is the real deal.'"
Added Tafoya: "This kid doesn't get out-muscled. He isn't afraid of contact. He's got a lot of pace, man, he's super fast."
In Bautista, Tafoya saw a player matured and composed beyond his years.
"The first word that comes to mind for me with Alan is composure," Tafoya said. "You would never guess he's in tenth grade. He's the most composed tenth grader I have ever seen. He gets one-on-one with a keeper, I don't know that there's ever that thought of nervousness. He doesn't show it, and he usually just tucks it right in the corner. For me, that's the word with Alan: composed."
Bautista has a keen sense of the game. He plays with a detailed, thought out purpose.
"His first touch, he seems like he knows what he's going to do before the ball gets to him," Tafoya said. "He can get a ball played to him from 40 yards away, and he's taking it into space. He's not just bringing it down, he's taking it to somewhere with a purpose."
As for Kramer, he's come into his own this year.
"The biggest thing for me that I've seen with (Kramer) as far as growth in the three years is his size," Tafoya said. "What he's done this season compared to last season — out of his goals — eight or nine of them are headers, at least. That's the biggest thing that's sticking out between this year and the last two years.
"You put it in the area and he's putting his head on it."
Of course, Kramer needs someone to put the ball in the area for him to finish. Enter Jesse Bridge.
Bridge leads Sand Creek with 11 assists from the center back position.
"He can throw it from the sideline to the goal box. He can throw it into the goal," Tafoya said. "Garrett has headed in probably five goals off of just throw ins from Jesse. Him and G kind of have this thing, even when we're sixty yards away, Jesse puts it in a spot where G can get his head on it. Between that, and between him making every throw in essentially a corner — and then being the head of my defense — he's been super impactful."
That level of chemisty, that connection of knowing where the other one will be at a certain time has Sand Creek looking like a well-oiled machine.
"They have great chemistry," Tafoya said as he listed Kramer, Bridge, Aidan Brown and Juan Hernandez. "These kids have been playing club together for probably 6-7 years. During the offseason, G, Jesse and Aidan, they play three-on-three, they play indoor.
"Jesse, on his throw ins, he looks for G. On his kicks, he looks for G."
Added Kramer: "I think that's why we're so dangerous this year. Our chemistry is so well put together."
There's no doubt of the enormous sized hole that will be left by Bautista and Kramer at Sand Creek. But for now, the Scorpions are enjoying the present.
"Their goals," Tafoya said simply on what will be missed most. "You're not replacing that many goals. That's the number one thing I'm going to miss, they can just score. I honestly feel like we can compete with anyone in the state because I know we're going to put goals in. If we can just keep a clean sheet, I have a feeling that we can beat anyone in the state."