Undefeated Battle Mountain boys soccer views itself as an underrated No. 1 team

Battle Mountain boys soccer

(Rex Keep)

The most impressive moment of the season (so far) for Battle Mountain boys soccer didn't even come in an official game.

But it certainly showed the degree of talent that the Huskies possess on the pitch. It was during a foundation game that a ball was heading right at senior Danny Barajas. Rather than knock it down with his chest or try to head the ball to a teammate, he did something only seen on SportsCenter's Top 10 plays.

He let loose a vicious bicycle kick and sent the ball into the net.

"It was spectacular," Battle Mountain coach David Cope said when describing the moment.

In a way, Cope is also trying to describe his team with that adjective. Battle Mountain's season has been nothing short of spectacular to this point. The Huskies (8-0-1 overall) have certainly gained the attention of the CHSAANow.com poll voters and currently stand as the No. 1 team in the state.

Yet in a way, they still manage to fly under the radar a bit.

"We always feel like we're fighting a little bit for respect even though we've been to state final twice, we went in 2012 and 2016," Cope said. "Anytime we go down to the Front Range we still fight for credibility."

Battle Mountain boys soccer

(Rex Keep)

Once they take the field, the credibility tends to become a little more real. The Huskies have arguably the perfect balance of talent in all 11 positions. It starts with Barajas, a "special player" according to Cope. His 10 goals lead the team and he's second on the Huskies when it comes to assists.

Midfielder Louis Castillo sets the tone defensively, even though he has the ability to play up and help on the offensive side.

His work defensively also makes sophomore keeper Cruz Ramirez better in his position. To date this season he has four shutouts to his name and has only let five shots get by him. And it's an experience he gets to share with his brother, Bryant.

A football player a year ago, Bryant made the switch to soccer in part for the chance to play with Cruz. It's paying off as they have a chance to do something special this season.

"(Bryant) watched his brother play last year and he wanted to be a part of it," Cope said. "I have a really good relationship with the football coaches and we just talked about it. That's a really great opportunity for the two of them to play together. And so this spring he made the decision to come over and play soccer this year."

The timing worked out and with two goals this season, Bryant has helped the team get to where it is. But it's not satisfied with a No. 1 ranking by its name in October. The goal is for the Huskies to battle through the Class 4A playoffs, amid tough competition from teams like Air Academy, Durango and Glenwood Springs.

A semifinal team last year, Glenwood Springs is the only team responsible for a slight blemish on Battle Mountain's record, a 1-1 tie on Sept. 26.

With just a couple of weeks away from the start of the postseason, Cope and his boys like what they see on the field and think they have the talent and the drive to make 2019 a special season.

I look at our starting 11 and even out to 14 deep and there's not a visible weakness," Cope said. "Out of everyone on the 2016 team that got to the final, he was the only freshman that was playing in that game."

And he has every intention in playing in that game again later this fall and maybe letting loose one or two more spectacular bicycle kicks.

The Classical Academy Battle Mountain boys soccer

(Alan Versaw/stoutroadsportspage.com)