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BOULDER — Mason Douillard’s crossing pass was picture perfect, the type that finds its way to soccer training videos. Jack Dooley’s finishing header was equally compelling.

Then the whistle. Offsides. No goal.

No worries, though. Moments later Thursday night at Recht Field, Douillard had two similar crosses that resulted in goals, paving the way to No. 9 Boulder’s 5-0 shellacking of No. 24 Cherokee Trail in the Class 5A first round.

“All year, it’s been either get inside or go down the line,” said Douillard, who upped his season assist total to 12 to go with 16 goals. “Today it was down the line and it was easy to get the crosses off. We had guys in the box who were ready to finish them.”

In a blink of an eye, the defending-champion Panthers went from a scoreless draw to up 2-0. With ample space on the right flank, Douillard fed a streaking Matteo Wilczak for the first goal in the 13th minute. Again from the right, he found Ryan Bower in the 14th minute and the Panthers were in command.

“Mason obviously has a really good pace and can make some things happen,” Panthers coach Hardy Kalisher said. “Quality balls to him really open up a lot, but he’s dangerous and he’s experienced.”

Wilczak finished with two goals, Quinn Liebmann added one goal and one assist and Dooley atoned for his disallowed goal by scoring 23 seconds into the second half.

Liebmann’s goal three minutes before intermission allowed the Panthers to enter the locker room ahead 3-0. On a free kick, Liebmann’s blast was deflected back toward him by a wall set up by Cherokee Trail (7-6-3). Liebmann fielded the carom and clobbered it past Cougars keeper Alex Reichler.

The Panthers will take on No. 8 George Washington in the second round Wednesday. The Patriots defeated No. 25 Fossil Ridge 1-0 on Thursday. That means the Panthers will be a slight underdog, seed-wise, as they continue their quest for back-to-back titles.

“Seeding to me doesn’t really matter if we go out and play our hardest, like we do every game,” said Douillard, who had an assist in last season’s championship game. “It doesn’t really matter who we play.”

Boulder won for the 11th time in 12 games, all shutouts. Goalie Henry Huettel once again was on point, turning away all four Cherokee Trail shots on goal. The Panthers were surprised upon hearing that rival Fairview was upset by No. 26 Heritage in overtime. Doulliard’s early deftness ensured the visiting Cougars never had a chance to smell a similar upset.

“The goal of the game was to come out strong and come out quick,” Douillard said.

Cherokee Trail, of the Centennial League, finished the year on the downtrend, with the Panthers’ win marking the Cougars’ fifth straight defeat. But that doesn’t mean Boulder regarded them lightly.

“They came out of arguably the toughest league in the state this year,” Kalisher said. “They played in some big games, they beat Smoky Hill, so we knew they’d be a competitive team. But the best defense we have right now is we’re putting the ball in the back of the net.”

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Boulder 5, Cherokee Trail 0

At Boulder H.S.

Cherokee Trail (7-6-3) 0 0 — 0

Boulder (13-3) 3 2 — 5

Goals (assists) — Boulder: Matteo Wilczak (Mason Douillard), 13th minute; Boulder: Ryan Bower (Douillard), 14th; Boulder: Quinn Liebmann, 37th; Boulder: Jack Dooley (Brian Castruita), 41st; Boulder: Wilczak (Liebmann), 47th.

Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Cherokee Trail: Reichler (80-5-10); Boulder: Huettel (80-0-4).

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