COMMERCE CITY — It was going to take something special to remove the two-time Class 5A champion Broomfield Eagles off their perch.
Fitting that it was the Boulder Panthers.
In one of the more amazing finishes in state championship history, Boulder coach Hardy Kalisher's nationally top-ranked team went 110 minutes plus 14 rounds of a drama filled and controversial penalty shoot-out to cap their perfect 20-0 season, outlasting the Eagles 13-12, with Mitchell Graesser delivering the finishing blow.
"I've never had a team in all the years that I have coached practice penalty kicks and these guys practiced them every week and sometimes twice," said Kalisher, who celebrated the Panthers' first title since 2012 by doing the worm on the Dick's Sporting Goods Park pitch. "I just had a feeling and they were clinical."
It was a game that had just about everything you could ask for and more. The early momentum went to the Panthers when Simon Julien crushed a left-footed shot past Eagles goalie Jose Ogaz.
Chances kept coming for both sides in the first half and it wasn't until early in the second that Broomfield was able to finally equalize. Armando Ocampo scored his sixth goal of the playoffs in the 43rd minute.
Some how, some way the score remained that way through regulation despite the best effort of a Panthers team that looked eager to avoid overtime.
The final 15 minutes tested everything Ogaz had and he stepped up every single time. A juggle right next to his post and big stops on both Omar Castruita and Julien were highlight reel material.
Both Ogaz and Doumbia took turns in the overtime periods and it was only fitting that the two keepers took center stage to decide it all.
In the shoot-out, both teams hit their first three kicks. In the fourth round, Ocampo opened the door for Boulder when he fired high. Ogaz followed that up with a huge stop of Julien.
In the 11th round, things got interesting. Ogaz turned shooter and beat his counterpart, then turned around and took his place in goal.
He appeared to make the save on Blaise Werner and the celebration was on, but it was quickly shut down when it was ruled that he left too early.
"Jose may have left early, but in that situation when it has gone that many deep, you let that go," said Broomfield coach Jim Davidson, whose team finished 16-3-1. "That is incredibly disappointing to think at one moment we had just won it and then have to go through that again."
Said Ogaz: "She (the official) told me I took two steps, and I know I took one. She said I was all the way out, further when I made the save and I was confused on why she called it."
Instead of having Werner go again, Boulder had the option of going back to the beginning of their rotation and Trey Pace stepped up to level it at 10-10.
In the 14th round, Doumbia made the final of his 12 saves for the game, moving to his right and stunning Luke Oberto with the denial.
"I've learned over the years in PK's that it comes down to tricks and one of them is going right every time or I might go left every time," said Doumbia, who at one point watch Broomfield go left six straight rounds. "Maybe once in a while I'll change it up, but it comes down to what I have in my mind."
Said Kalisher: "He's got a certain kind of confidence and it will just continue to grow. His teammates believe in him, his coaches believe in him and there is a reason why the phone is ringing from coaches around the country."
Moments later, Graesser calmly stepped up and delivered the game-winner and sent the Panthers faithful into a frenzy.
"We talked about Broomfield being a tough nut to crack for the second time," said Kalisher, whose team won the Front Range League title at Broomfield's expense in the final game of the regular season. "And that nut took at least 14 rounds of penalty kicks."
BOULDER 1 (13), BROOMFIELD 1 (12)
At Dick's Sporting Goods ParkBroomfield (16-3-1) 0 1 0 0 — 1 (12)
Boulder (20-0) 1 0 0 0 — 1 (13)
Goals (assists) — Boulder: Simon Julien (Eric Ramirez), 10th minute; Broomfield: Armando Ocampo (unassisted), 43rd.
Shootout goals — Broomfield: Daulton Logan 2, Riley Shea 2, Luke Oberto, Jeff Robisch, Cameron Broadhurst, Nate Holland, Michael Mooney, Cade Austin, Tanner Smith, Jose Ogaz; Boulder: Omar Castruita, Trey Pace 2, Abe Lopez 2, Mitchell Graesser 2, Bridger Good, Nick McCabe, Cameron Peterson, Luke Regnier, Quinn Frankovsky, Simon Julien.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Broomfield: Jose Ogaz (110-1-9); Boulder: Djibril Doumbia (110-1-12).