FREDERICK -- Facing a 1-0 deficit at intermission, Niwot boys soccer coach Rob Johnson asked his team to treat the Saturday's game as if it were in overtime and score within the next five minutes.
It ended up taking the Cougars seven minutes to get the goal, but it's clear their coach's message did not fall on deaf ears.
Niwot added a second score 11 minutes later and held off Windsor for the remainder of the afternoon, securing the 2-1 comeback victory in the Class 4A playoffs round of 16 match.
The Cougars (14-3) came out firing on all cylinders in the second half, determined to erase the 1-0 deficit they faced after allowing a goal just two minutes before the break. Their repeated attacks on the Wizards' net eventually paid off when midfielder Chiuithaya Xiong was tripped up as he attempted to dribble past a WHS defender, earning a penalty kick.
Senior Danny Witt stepped up to the penalty spot and calmly drilled a shot to the left of the keeper for the equalizer.
"(We told them) so much pressure, go at them, keep going at them," Johnson said of his halftime pep talk. "Then things happened, we got the goal and just kept the momentum going."
That momentum would carry the Cougars to their second goal in the 55th minute, when Witt received a ball on the sideline in front of his team's bench. The forward then pushed past his marker and delivered a lofted ball to streaking striker Carlos Dominguez, who found the back of the net for his team-leading 13th goal on the season.
"Grant (Webster) gave me a great ball in and I was able to make a run down the line and saw Carlos coming in from the right," said Witt, who leads the Cougars in assists with eight. "I got a cross in and he made a great header."
Despite his offensive prowess Witt then switched positions and moved to center back to help anchor the defense and secure the lead. The tactic paid off, as the Wizards (14-2-1) were able to muster only one shot on goal in the final 20 minutes of play.
The Cougars are rewarded with the opportunity for revenge in the quarterfinals when they take on Northern League foe Broomfield. The Eagles won the league title and delivered NHS its sole conference loss, a 4-0 defeat on Oct. 4.
"I think we got a little confident going in," Johnson said of the first meeting between the squads. "Broomfield's a very good team and we created three or four chances and if we put some of those in it shows a little bit better. We'll be ready, we just have to go at them a little bit harder and not take anything for granted."
The two sides will meet at Broomfield High on Thursday evening.
Niwot 2, Windsor 1
At Frederick H.S.
Windsor (14-2-1, 10-0) 1 0 -- 1
Niwot (14-3, 7-1) 0 2 -- 2
Goals (assists) -- Windsor: Christian Johnson, 37th minute. Niwot: Danny Witt, 46th minute; Carlos Dominguez (Witt), 55th minute.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) -- Windsor: Mitchell Winner (80-2-2). Niwot: Jack Fitzgerald (80-1-2).