NIWOT — The state has begun to take notice what coach Rob Johnson and his Silver Creek Raptors are doing.
They climbed up to No. 2 in the latest CHSAANow.com Class 4A poll behind Windsor, a team they nearly beat last month but settled for a 2-2 tie.
On Tuesday afternoon they played their first match since March 22 and it showed. To make matters worse, their opponent was cross-town rival and Johnson's former team, Niwot.
The home-standing Cougars held their own against Silver Creek and after 100 minutes, nothing was settled in an early Northern League match that ended in a 0-0 tie.
"It's an ugly game, both teams killed each other. Both teams had chances and I was telling (Niwot coach) Stephen (Dimit), I wish one of us would have calmed down an possessed," said Johnson, whose team is now 5-0-2 and 0-0-1 in the Northern. "Both teams worked hard, so you can't complain.
"And that's all we talk about, is leave it on the field."
Niwot's defensive back four, anchored by senior captain Kenzie Pasma, was impressive all match against the Raptors and their lethal scoring attack that had outscored opponents 31-3 through six matches.
The were organized and physical when they needed to be, especially against the tandem of Greta Goldsberry and Alexa Karsel, limiting them to just six shots on target.
"The biggest thing today was focusing on our game, our team and doing what we knew we could do and that is possess the ball really well," Pasma said. "We didn't focus on what they had done up to this point and that is why we were successful."
Niwot managed just two shots in regulation against an equally stingy Raptors backline, but had the best look of the match in the 75th minute. Anna McCarthy's chance was denied by Silver Creek keeper Kaeyla Noble.
In overtime, it looked like Niwot might have got away with a handball in the box after a Silver Creek corner, but the officials conferred and it was deemed incidental.
The Raptors best chance to beat Cougars goalie Allie Colvin came with just over two minutes remaining in the match, but Annalise Teasdale's shot was stopped on the doorstep.
"We have to adjust, because everyone we play is going to give us a tough game," said Johnson, who admitted his team was a little rusty. "I thought after 10 minutes we'd be OK, but it just kept going of us not being as sharp.
"We can't just turn it on and they thought they could. But this is an emotional game."
SILVER CREEK 0, NIWOT 0, 2OT
At NiwotSilver Creek (5-0-2, 0-0-1)0000—0
Niwot (5-2-1, 1-0-1)0000—0
Goals (assists) —None.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Silver Creek: Kaeyla Noble (100-0-3); Niwot: Allie Colvin (100-0-6).