Schmoldt: Delavan-Darien in dynasty discussion
Tack on another “D.”
It might be time to take the alliteration to a new level.
As in, a Delavan-Darien dynasty.
Sure, the Comets boys soccer program lost in the WIAA Division 3 state championship match Saturday night, falling to Mount Horeb 2-1 at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.
But even so, Delavan-Darien has three gold balls in program history, including two in the past four years, and now added a silver one to the mix.
Some will argue a four-year stretch is not long enough to start the dynasty discussion. In some cases, I’d agree. But this might not be one of those cases.
Heading into this year’s state tournament, there were just four teams, according to the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association record book, that had won four state boys soccer titles.
It’s likely that no program will ever match Marquette University High, which won its fourth straight Division 1 title and 27th overall Saturday. It has won eight state championships in the past 10 years. That, my friends, is ridiculous.
And Whitefish Bay won its seventh title, including third in a row, in Division 2. The Blue Dukes have earned themselves a national ranking.
Delavan-Darien’s not at that point yet, but its got numbers over the past four years to prove worthy of being in the discussion.
The Comets’ 48-match unbeaten streak—ended in the Southern Lakes Conference tournament title game against Elkhorn—was just six shy of Marquette’s 54-match streak listed as the longest in state history.
With Zeus Huerta and Jason Cano each eclipsing 50 goals this season—a feat accomplished just 13 other times in boys state history—Delavan-Darien blew past its own record for most goals by a team in one season.
And beyond the numbers, this year’s team proved the Comets’ success was not just a product of one or two strong classes or star players.
Gone were standouts Juan “Chuy” Rocha and Tigrio Huerta, the stars of the past couple state-title seasons. This year’s Comets club returned just four starters, and 10 matches into the season, honorable mention all-state midfielder Jaime Rodriguez was lost for the season due to injury.
Delavan-Darien had Cano and Huerta up top, but for the success to continue, younger players with little or no varsity experience were going to need to step up.
They did, some of them in especially big ways when the Comets were traversing their way through the toughest sectional in the state—one that included four of the top five teams in the state coaches poll.
So it’s three trophies in four years, all of them coming through the toughest sectional, from a program that has survived a full round of roster turnover.
“I guess there should some more pressure (to keep the success going),” said Cano, who was called up for the playoff run his freshman year and so has been part of the entire run. “But we don’t really look at that stuff. We just want to win games, continue winning.”
The Comets have done plenty of that over the past four-plus years.
But Huerta hopes the run of success is only getting started.
“Right now, we’re really good,” Huerta said earlier this week. “But it’s not just about now. We’re trying to look and see if we can keep going. Not just these couple years. We want to keep the tradition going.”