DENVER — The dream started to look like a reality on Tuesday morning.
Broomfield's players and coaches — along with those from Pine Creek, Valor Christian and Pomona — got an up close and personal look at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, site of Saturday's state championship games.
They went though the locker rooms, stepped foot on the field and ultimately found themselves deep within the bowels of the stadium for a press conference in front of a packed house of Colorado media members.
"It like a dream, to finally be in the place where the pros and so many legends have been and to have the opportunity to play in such a huge stadium," said Broomfield senior captain Ryan Mazzola, whose big week started with a verbal offer to play for John Wristen's CSU-Pueblo team on Monday. "It's quite surreal and walking around today it kind of hits you in the gut that you earned this and now you have the opportunity to play in this stadium."
While it was suggested that each team bring just their captains, only Broomfield followed those specific instructions. The other three programs weren't shy about filling up the room with well over 20-30 players each.
More than anything it gave Broomfield a chance to size up the competition and get a sneak peek — at least in street clothes, and well decorated letter jackets — of what the Pine Creek Eagles were brining to the table.
"I wouldn't say that there is any intimidation with what is going on here," said Broomfield coach Blair Hubbard, who shared a table on the stage with Pine Creek coach Todd Miller.
"We saw that when we traveled to Windsor in Week 3 and the kids came out against the defending state champions and we played them, did again against a tough hard-nosed Monarch team and then again against Loveland and that really solidified our team as having that blue-collar work ethic."
During his address to the masses, Hubbard referred to that "Eagle DNA," which includes that toughness, fearlessness and ability to be there for one another not matter what the stakes.
Hubbard, an administrator at Jefferson Academy, has also stressed to his team that this is just another football game, and starting by "loading up the big yellow bus and heading to the game," on Saturday is all part of the prepar ation.
"That was the first thing out of my mouth on Monday at practice, that we are going to play a football game," said Hubbard, whose coaching resume already includes three Class 2A state title at Arvada's Faith Christian Academy.
"We need to focus on playing a football game and when it comes down to it, there is going to be 11 on our side and 11 on their side; so it goes back to trusting your coaching, the hard work in the weight room and the gritty games you've come through to get here and leaning on those things."
The game plan for Saturday is already well underway, and slowing down Pine Creek's back field duo of quarterback Brock Domann and speedy freshman sensation David Moore are of the utmost importance.
Offensively, Broomfield has shown the ability to move the ball up and down the field with a multitude of weapons at sophomore quarterback Steve Croell's disposal. From Jalon Torres and Tanner Garner to Mazzola and Mason Keeler, a lot of what the Eagles are capable of doing begins up front with Toby Godwin, Caleb Kennedy, Jaxon Pallone, Korey Viburg, Michael DeCamillis.
"It starts with the coaches on Sunday night watching film and we know on Monday when they come in that they have the whole game plan set out," Mazzola said. "They give us a lot of confidence with their film study, their preparation and their confidence in us."