Three state titles since 2014 and four straight trips to the championship game: Perhaps all the games with a goalbox-sized target on its back, the long and emotionally-draining seasons — maybe it had all finally taken its toll on Jim Davidson's program at Broomfield.
Then again ... maybe not.
Three weeks ago, the Eagles were 7-6 and were already on the wrong side of five gut-wrenching, one-goal defeats. They'd lost to rival Legacy for the first time in program history on Oct. 9 after allowing the tying goal in the final minutes of regulation, and another in overtime. And they came into the state playoffs as the 13 seed — the highest seed they've had since joining 5A in 2014.
Flash-forward to today, and Broomfield is back in the semifinals after beating Legacy in a rematch Saturday — now just one win away from its fifth straight trip to the 5A title game.
Five straight title appearances would be the most by a team in the state's largest classification since state teams were shuffled into classes in 1990. The Eagles and Smoky Hill (2004-07) currently have the most consecutive trips at four.
"It's obviously in the Broomfield nature to turn it on during the postseason," Eagles senior Tanner Smith said. "We kind of got this fire in our hearts, especially after seeing our regular-season record. We knew we had to turn it on to keep the Broomfield legacy alive."
The latest 5A chapter may go down as the most improbable. After an up-and-down regular season, the Eagles have hit all the right notes so far in the postseason. They beat No. 4 Denver East in the second round on penalties and then got something of an ironic and redeeming double-overtime win over Legacy in the quarterfinals.
"It was that first Legacy game where we were at the nadir of our season," said Davidson, whose teams are 22-1 in the postseason since moving to 5A. "It really did require us after that match to kind of look within and make some changes. I think both in mentality, and sort of personnel and positionally."
Moving Andres Ocampo to center back and Smith up to a forward are shifts that have worked marvelously for the Eagles. Smith, who switched from the midfield, was sharp in his new role in the quarters and blasted the game-winning strike in the 101st minute.
Broomfield pledges to be ready for Arapahoe's best effort in the semifinals Wednesday at EchoPark Stadium in Parker. The Eagles have come to expect nothing less.
"You're the reigning state champs, you have a target on your back all season no matter who you are playing," Smith said. "No matter who you're playing it's always going to be a good game."
No. 13 Broomfield vs. No. 8 Arapahoe
Details: Wednesday, 5 p.m. at EchoPark Stadium
What to know: Arapahoe (15-1-2) beat previously-undefeated Fairview 1-0 in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Sought-after D-I recruit Cameron Gail scored the lone goal and goalkeeper Spencer Cobb was magnificent in net. Broomfield (12-6) has shown it can handle just about anything in the playoffs so far after beating two top-five teams in extra time.
Who to watch: Broomfield's senior class — 11 players in total on roster, per MaxPreps. Coach Davidson said the seniors on his team have played with greater purpose and intensity in the postseason, and it has shown. Ocampo has been solid as the center back and Smith was the Man of the Match in the quarters as a forward.
Brent W. New: firstname.lastname@example.org and @brentwnew