Jefferson Academy, undefeated this season and the No. 1 seed in 3A, advanced to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs with a hard-fought 2-1 overtime win over Peak to Peak. Team captain and senior Alex Kelso scored the game-winner for the Jaguars.
"I felt like we came out a little unorganized at first and they got a goal, which they earned, and then we settled the game down and were able to grind out a result," said Jefferson Academy head coach Matt Cassell. "Peak to Peak has some really talented guys that put us under the most pressure we've had all year."
Pumas forward Brendan Lefkowicz would score the first goal of the game in the 10th minute. Jefferson Academy was unable to clear the ball out of the box after a corner kick, and it eventually fell to Lefkowicz, who rocketed a shot from close range past Jefferson Academy goalie Eric Strauss for the 1-0 lead.
The Jaguars answered just before halftime. In the 36th minute, they won a free kick deep in Pumas territory, and Peyton Tennal's effort deflected off the defensive wall and snuck past Peak to Peak keeper Nate Fangman to tie the match.
After a scoreless second half, Jefferson would get the golden goal nine minutes into overtime. Kelso got the ball 35 yards from goal, turned, and was able to loop his shot over Fangman, who was off his line.
"Honestly, I don't remember much of it," Kelso said. "I had tried the same shot earlier in the game, where the goalkeeper is far off his line and you just chip it in. I messed it up the first time, but I got it right that time."
Heading into the quarterfinals, Cassell said his team still has a lot to improve on.
"This was a good game for us because we were under pressure and we could identify some things that we need to tighten up. The biggest thing is being ready to go at whistle. The guys were a little nervy, and it showed," he said.
"We've always been the underdog, so we need to become accustomed to being the No. 1 seed. We need to come out confident in what we can do," added Kelso.
The Jaguars' quarterfinal match will take place Saturday against the winner of Liberty Common and William Smith.
Christoph Ludwig: 303-473-1313, email@example.com
Jefferson Academy 2, Peak to Peak 1 (OT)
At Jefferson Academy(16) Peak to Peak 1 0 0—1
(1) Jefferson Academy 1 0 1— 2
Goals (assists) — Peak to Peak Lefkowicz (unassisted) 10th minute; Jefferson Academy Tennal (unassisted) 38th minute, Kelso (unassisted) 89th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Peak to Peak Fangman 89-2-5; Jefferson Academy Strauss 89-1-3.