DENVER — It was a gloriously warm and sunny late-October afternoon in the central part of the city. It was a taste of old Denver smack dab in the middle of an ever-changing Denver skyline.
And it was a wipeout in every sense.
Denver West blew away Longmont 9-2 on Wednesday in the opening round of the Class 4A boys soccer state playoffs and brought an abrupt and thorough end to the Trojans' season. In finishing 6-9-1, the 27th-seeded Trojans in a 32-team field were dominated from the opening seconds and were unable to respond to the Cowboys, who will take a 12-1-3 mark in the second round on Tuesday.
These things happen.
"Yeah, I mean, (the Cowboys) just came out, they were high-energy and we weren't," Longmont coach Dave John said. "We left the middle open that's where they scored most of their goals."
John, who landed the job just two weeks before the start of the season, added that "I'm proud of these guys. This team here and last year's were the first to go back to back in the state playoffs in 13 years. ... Hey, we're going to look for the positive in it and build for the future."
But as for the immediacy of the moment, Longmont, which finished tied for sixth place in the eight-team 4A Northern League, simply had no answers for a Cowboys team that was runner-up to 5A Denver East in the Denver Prep League. Denver West grabbed the lead in the opening minutes of the match and proceeded to roar to an unusually high 6-0 bulge by halftime. The Cowboys were better with the ball, without the ball and regularly got to the ball.
While John remained convinced his guys were just as skilled, Trojans senior midfielder Ben Richburg said "really, it was unlike anything we had played before. Hats off to them. They have a good team."
Longmont, which was outscored 54-40 on the season, gave up a season-high in goals. Jovany Casas scored the first goal to spark the rout. Ultimately, Cristian Catalan scored three times and Casas added two for Denver West.
The Cowboys also peppered Longmont starting keeper Sam Merrill early and often, although it could have been worse if not for two of his stellar saves. Jose Torres relieved him with 5 minutes to play in the first half.
Offensively, the Trojans' chances were few and far between. Richburg was credited with a goal off a corner kick and captain Ruben Ordaz tallied another, both scores coming late.
"We left them unmarked. Our energy was down, and it's disheartening as a coach," John said.
Coming in late as the head coach was challenging, he added, "but I'm glad and happy where we're at."
The Trojans will have to replace 11 seniors for 2017.
Said Richburg: "The first half was really hard to take. We just weren't finding a way. We didn't have the energy we needed to put anything together. But in the second half, I thought we gave them a little bit of a challenge."
Denver West 9, Longmont 2
At Denver West High SchoolLongmont (6-9-1) 0 2 — 2 Denver West (12-1-3) 6 3 — 9
Goals — Denver West: Cristian Catalan 3, Jovany Cases 2, Monico Nunez, Jesus Arredondo, Samuel Benitez, Miguel Perez; Longmont: Ben Richburg, Ruben Ordaz.