For four straight seasons, the Skyline soccer team endured the same fate when it came to the Class 4A playoffs. After successful campaigns and even a co-league championship in 2014, the Falcons were seeded harshly and met an abrupt end in the first round.
That was until this year, when this unlikely group finally got past that hurdle when they beat John F. Kennedy this past week to open what hopes to be a lengthy run.
In all honesty, this team has blown away head coach Luis Chavez.
"They are doing stuff that I just didn't fully expect," Chavez said, his team ready to travel for Tuesday's second-round game against Ponderosa. "Losing 15 seniors (off last year's team), I just thought we'd be good but we'd still need some time to build.
"From the get-go, I had to ask myself if it was too good to be true. Our midfield has performed and controlled, and our defensive line has been outstanding."
The Falcons, seeded ninth this year despite being the Tri-Valley League champion, needed a last minute push to get past the Commanders 2-1 last Wednesday. But Chavez said it was a team-oriented surge that past squads have not been able to find in the postseason.
"The mental stability is just there compared to past years," he said. "That game, we were down 1-0 with 5 minutes to play. We didn't get our heads down, but instead we had intensity to our attack and it got us a (tying) goal."
The Falcons are one of three remaining local teams in the 4A field and the only ones who have to go away from home to play in the next round. Ponderosa plays in the 4A/5A Continental League with some of the stiffest competition available, and Chavez expects his team to adapt to a different style of play from the Mustangs. That game is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Sports Authority Stadium in Parker.
Fifth seed Longmont will host Durango on Tuesday at Everly-Montgomery Field (6:30 p.m. start), a duel between teams that rarely see each other.
Niwot will have a matinee affair against Standley Lake at NHS (2:30 p.m.) — another pair of teams that don't have much of a history against each other.