BROOMFIELD — It had been exactly 287 days since Boulder and Broomfield staged one of the most epic matches in state history in the Class 5A title match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
The players were different and, most certainly, so were the stakes, but Saturday night's rematch at Elizabeth Kennedy Stadium certainly had the feel of something very special.
The sequel lived up to the billing and Boulder, much like it did on that November night — albeit in 14 rounds of a penalty shoot-out — got the better of Broomfield 1-0 in front of packed house.
"I'm just so proud of this team and how we responded to that early pressure and we made the adjustments and dealt with it," Boulder senior defender Quinn Frankovsky said. "The center back — Eric Ramirez, Omar (Castruita) and Nick (McCabe) and everyone that came of the bench had a fantastic game and contributed."
The early going belonged to a Broomfield team, that despite a number of new faces all over the pitch, started the season ranked No. 2 by CHSAANow's Class 5A preseason poll.
They controlled the midfield, which in turn led to the vast majority of the possession in the opening 25 minutes, but the failure to connect with anything in the finishing third of the field resulted in very few quality chances. In fact Boulder's defense limited Broomfield to just one first-half shot on goal and two total for the match.
"Some of that synergy and understanding was lacking tonight," said Broomfield coach Jim Davidson, who along with Boulder coach Hardy Kalisher switched the game from its originally scheduled end of October meeting to Saturday. "You could see guys looking for balls when we have the understanding that typically there should be a player there.
"We just had some decision making issues, but on balance — as far as the soccer was concerned — I thought it was a pretty even game."
In a span of 30 seconds late in the first half, the Panthers offense, which itself hadn't pieced anything together for the first 28 minutes, got back-to-back shots — the second from Diego Molina — on Eagles keeper Jose Ogaz and it seemed to switch the momentum.
The aggressive Ogaz nearly got caught in the 53rd minute, when he came way out of his goal and Castruita, who had three goals in the Panthers' opener against Heritage on Thursday night, nearly chipped one over the top; only to have it headed away by Gianni Martinez.
Top-ranked Boulder (2-0, 1-0) would bag the only goal of the match in the 63rd minute off a Castruita corner. He connected with an unmarked Ramirez, who headed home the game winner just inside the post.
"I had one similar to that earlier in the half and I just came in to the past and it was a great ball from Omar," said Ramirez, who is one of only 140 players in the nation named to the Topdrawer.com Pre-season All-Americans watch list. "He almost got his hands on it."
Boulder, now winners of 22 straight matches, will host Mountain Vista on Tuesday. Broomfield will travel to Colorado Springs to take on Cheyenne Mountain.
BOULDER 1, BROOMFIELD 0
At BroomfieldBoulder (2-0, 1-0)01—1Broomfield (0-1, 0-1)00—0
Goal (assist) — Boulder: Eric Ramirez (Omar Castruita), 63rd minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Boulder: Cameron Casey (80-0-2); Broomfield: Jose Ogaz (80-1-5).