Kyle Rimer has played varsity soccer the past three years for Rock Canyon High School but never scored a goal.
The senior defender ended his scoreless streak Sept. 17 at Littleton Public Schools Stadium as he scored the lone goal of the game in Rock Canyon's 1-0 Continental League victory over Heritage.
Rimer lofted a 60-yard free kick towards the goal 79 seconds into the second half. The ball bounced in front of the net among scrambling players, went over the head of Heritage junior keeper Riccardo Commelli and into the goal.
“My job was to just to put it on target, challenge the keeper a little bit and keep it on the spot so our team could crash the box and get it in,” said Rimer. “It wasn't all me, my team jumped up and created a distraction for the goalie and threw him off his game. I thought somebody had touched it.”
Rock Canyon coach Sean Henning was delighted.
“Everybody challenged for it, nobody touched it and it just went in,” he said.
Heritage coach Adam Buseck called it a fluky goal.
“You've got to be able to make a play on those kinds of balls,” admitted Buseck. “We have a young goalkeeper who has made fantastic saves all season and he'll keep getting better. And, the defenders could have helped there a little bit too.”
Heritage controlled play most of the first half and toward the end of the match launched a lot of shots at the Rock Canyon goal in an effort to tie the game.
Rock Canyon goalie Sam Makikalli made three of his eight saves in the closing minutes. The Jaguars back line of Rimer, Ben Flannery-Bartlett, Jeremy Purchase and Andrew Greiner provided Makikalli with good support.
“Our back line is definitely the strength of our team,” claimed Rimer. “We have great chemistry. We are all seniors except our left back (Greiner) is a junior. We've been playing together on the varsity for the last three years.
“Heritage definitely threw everything they had at us. Heritage made a great effort to come back. They are tough.”
Rock Canyon lost to Heritage during the regular season last season, but beat the Eagles in the state playoffs.
“Heritage is a good team,” said Henning. “It was a tough game, it was hard-fought on both sides. I'm pleased with the result but that game could have gone either way.
“Once we scored we were able to hold on and absorb everything they threw, and they threw a lot at us.”
The win improved Rock Canyon's record to 6-0-0 and 3-0-0 in the league. The Jaguars had a game Sept. 19 against Castle View and played Mountain Vista Sept. 24.
“Beating Heritage was good, especially away,” said Rimer. “We knew Heritage was most likely going to be our toughest opponent in the Continental League. Our coach said the winner ultimately dictates the league championship. That's our goal this year. We've never won a league championship.”
Heritage's defending Continental League champions saw its record fall to 1-2-1 and 1-1-0 in the league but the Eagles have played Regis Jesuit Sept. 19, Mountain Range Sept. 21 and Littleton Sept. 24.
“We did a great job against Rock Canyon,” said Buseck. “The guys fought the whole game. The leadership from Conrad d'Leeuwen, Erik Gentile and Josh Peil was excellent. Those seniors really pushed hard the whole game. They never stopped fighting. Rock Canyon is good. We were pushing to generate as many shots as we could. I think the guys will get better.”
Henning also believes his team can improve.
“Who knows what is going to happen towards the end,” he said. “We have to make sure we show up each and every game. We're improving every game. I still don't think we've played our best.
“I would like for it all to be put together and have that complete game because we haven't had it yet. We're still working on things”