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  • Omar Castruita and the Boulder Panthers will battle Broomfield for...

    Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    Omar Castruita and the Boulder Panthers will battle Broomfield for the 5A state championship Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Undefeated Boulder is the top-ranked team in the nation according to

  • Armando Ocampo and the Broomfield Eagles are in the 5A...

    Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    Armando Ocampo and the Broomfield Eagles are in the 5A state championship game for the third consecutive season. Broomfield won the previous two titles.

  • Broomfield's Jeff Robisch moves the ball in front of Denver...

    Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer

    Broomfield's Jeff Robisch moves the ball in front of Denver East's Max Gottesfeld in the second half of their 5A semifinal game Wednesday night in Aurora.



Omar Castruita was in eighth grade in 2014 when his older brother Brian and the Boulder Panthers last played at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for a Class 5A state title against Broomfield.

He distinctly remembers Brian coming home after a 2-0 loss and the look on his face.

“It sucked seeing him come home frustrated and disappointed,” said Omar Castruita, now a sophomore midfielder for the Panthers. “We wanted to play Broomfield in the final and I’m looking forward to playing them again.”

Broomfield has sent a lot of players and teams home frustrated over the years and on Saturday afternoon, back in Commerce City, the Eagles will have a chance to make it three straight big school titles when the play undefeated Boulder at 3:30 p.m.

Omar Castruita was at the forefront of what the Panthers did on Wednesday night at Legacy Stadium against Fossil Ridge in the semifinals.

With the game tied 1-1 with under 15 minutes to go, Castruita — who is a steadying force in the midfield and a capable distributer — bagged two goals to help advance his team.

And Castruita hasn’t done it alone. The whole premise of the Boulder’s “La Familia” theme is a testament to their unprecedented depth.

“You never know where it is going to come from with Boulder,” said Panthers coach Hardy Kalisher after Wednesday’s game.

Simon Julien scored on Wednesday and both Mitchell Graesser and Nick McCabe tallied for the Panthers in their Front Range League championship game against Broomfield last month at Recht Field.

“We were excited to win the league and win the league against Broomfield,” said Kalisher, whose nationally top-ranked Panthers by MaxPreps come in at 19-0. “But we have bigger visions than that at Boulder and we get to play one more game and I couldn’t pick a better team that we’d want to play.”

Broomfield (16-2-1), other than a flat first 40 minutes in Wednesday’s semifinal victory over previously unbeaten top-seed Denver East, has dictated the play in their first four playoff games.

After surviving a scare in round one against Gateway — a game they won 2-1 with 26 seconds left on the clock — Broomfield has played its distinct possession oriented style and created opportunities in the final third for Armando Ocampo and Co. to finish.

“It’s exciting, we get to love one more day,” said Broomfield coach Jim Davidson, who watched Ocampo get bottled up by Denver East on Wednesday. “It’s a testament to our kids, they have worked really hard and especially what we’ve don since joining 5A … three title games in three year, you really couldn’t ask for much more. We are blessed for sure.”

In the first game on Saturday at Dick’s, Jefferson Academy will get its much anticipated Metropolitan League rematch against top-seeded Kent Denver in the 3A championship.

Coach Matt Cassell’s team has exacted a little revenge during their playoff run, eliminating a Colorado Academy team in the quarterfinals that had beaten them 1-0 during the regular season.

They played the Sun Devils very early in the season on Sept. 15 and gave up a second half goal to David Felman for the only goal in a 1-0 loss.

The Jags have hit their stride and are playing confidently in all aspects, as witnessed by their shootout victory on Wednesday against KIPP. JA goalie Eric Strauss, made five save against Kent in the first meeting and will have to be big again on Saturday. Look for Lucas Almeida to be central to what the Jags can do on the big pitch at Dick’s.

Jon Yunt: or

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