BROOMFIELD — When your unbeaten streak dates back to August 24 of 2014 ... you must be doing something right.
The Kent Denver Sun Devils have been the gold standard of 3A soccer for the past three seasons, a streak of 64 games without a setback and they haven't done it without a little luck involved.
On Thursday night, Class 3A No. 2 Jefferson Academy had every intention of not only ending the streak but exercising some championship game demons from last fall against the No. 1 Sun Devils.
After 100 minutes of hard fought soccer, nothing was settled.
The Jaguars had their chances, but ultimately settled for a 1-1 draw in their Metropolitan League opener.
"We're disappointed, but we will take it. The guys played hard," said Jags coach Matt Cassell, whose team is now 5-0-1 overall. "Once we took the emotion out of the game, we were successful moving the ball and creating chances.
"But what do you expect, it's two big teams and when you think about it, there is never too much in between us."
The early part of the match belonged to the visiting side, whose physical play and extra-curricular activity post possessions got under the skin of the Jaguars players and even started to rattle the usually mild-manned Cassell.
The Sun Devils — who in the sixth minute had a Max Hewitt header cleared off the line by senior Aidan Boyd behind his keeper Eric Strauss — capitalized with the opening goal, a nifty cross from Josh Melvin that was finished off by Davis Evans past Strauss in the 15th minute.
"They put us under pressure and we let the emotion of the game get to all of us," Cassell said.
A more level-headed Jags equalized early in the second half, sending numbers to the finishing third and it paid off in the 53rd minute. Senior Jake Claeys was in the right place at the right time and beat Sun Devils sophomore keeper Joey Waldbaum.
Just over six minutes later, the Jags had their golden opportunity, when the official awarded them a penalty kick after a shove in the box. Payton Tennal stepped up and hit a great shot to Waldbaum's high right, but Waldbaum guess correctly and was able to make the save to preserve the tie.
"We were up for this and it's hard to not be disappointed," said Cassell, whose team lost 4-2 in penalty kicks last November at Dick's. "I thought our captains, both Alex (Kelso) and AJ (Arroyo) really helped settle the game; so the effort was there and man, they are good. You just don't roll out of bed and have what they have had over there the last several years."
JA will get back at it on Monday in Highlands Ranch against SkyView Academy.
JEFFERSON ACADEMY 1, KENT DENVER 1, 2OT
At Jefferson AcademyKent Denver (4-0-1, 1-0-1)1000—1Jefferson Academy (5-0-1, 0-0-1)0100—1
Goals (assists) —Kent Denver: Davis Evans (Josh Melvin) 15th minute; Jefferson Academy: Jake Claeys (unassisted), 53rd.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Kent Denver: Joey Waldbaum (100-1-7); Jefferson Academy: Eric Strauss (100-1-6).