Boys soccer: Neumann newest hero in Boulder’s win over Fairview

Panthers senior scores twice off the bench to forge huge victory

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Tristan Hird, left, celebrates a goal with teammate Job Meuleman during a game against Boulder on Tuesday at Recht Field in Boulder.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Boulder High School's Micah Blackburn heads the ball during a game against Fairview on Tuesday at Recht Field in Boulder.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Boulder High School's Sam Phillips fights for the ball with Alex Mercier during a game against Fairview on Tuesday at Recht Field in Boulder.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Jake Ketchner heads the ball during a game against Boulder on Tuesday at Recht Field in Boulder.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Boulder High School's Sam Phillips moves the ball upfield during a game against Fairview on Tuesday at Recht Field in Boulder.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School goalkeeper Carter Melton throws to a teammate during a game against Boulder on Tuesday at Recht Field in Boulder.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Boulder High School's Luke Kreidl moves the ball past Justus Carter during a game against Fairview on Tuesday at Recht Field in Boulder.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Boulder High School's Luke Kreidl heads the ball during a game against Fairview on Tuesday at Recht Field in Boulder.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's Job Meuleman heads the ball over Curran English during a game against Boulder on Tuesday at Recht Field in Boulder.

  • Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer

    Fairview High School's during a game against Boulder on Tuesday at Recht Field in Boulder.

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BOULDER — The next time Fairview and Boulder met on a soccer field seemed destined for a letdown.

A year ago, the Knights pulled off a dramatic double-overtime win that saw game-winning scorer Myles Ellis climb over a chain-linked fence and dive into a mob of celebrating students.

But the sequel lived up to the hype as celebrations turned to disbelief more than once, a pair of nationally recognized rivals traded momentum at a whim, and a new hero was crowned in Max Neumann.

Boulder High School's Sam Phillips fights ...
Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer
Boulder High School’s Sam Phillips fights for the ball with Alex Mercier during a game against Fairview on Tuesday at Recht Field in Boulder.

The Boulder senior came off the bench to score an equalizer in the 71st minute and then the walk-off winner in the 98th minute to propel the Panthers past the Knights 2-1 at Christian Recht Field Tuesday night.

“What more do you want from a kid, right?” Boulder coach Hardy Kalisher said. “What a great leader in the way he plays. I’m super proud of him.”

After both teams traded opportunities through the extra frames, Neumann took a through ball from Arroll Taekla and beat Fairview keeper Carter Melton on the winning breakaway. The senior was mobbed by his teammates before he could run back to midfield, and then again by a purple-cladded student section that had slowly flooded onto the field.

It ended Fairview’s two-game winning streak over the Panthers and spoiled first-year coach Eric Schuler’s first rivalry game since taking over for Jeff Frykholm.

Per MaxPreps, Boulder (3-1, 1-0 5A Front Range League) is now 9-7 in the past 16 meetings with Fairview (3-1, 0-1).

“I’m still shell-shocked,” Neumann said. “It’s great. It’s great.”

Neumann’s equalizer answered a first-half goal from Fairview’s Tristan Hird, sending the team into OT for a second straight year.

Fairview thought it had made it 2-0 twice. Hird believed he had his second goal of the game in the final seconds of the half but it was ruled off on what appeared to be an offside call. In the 63rd minute, Harrison Whittemore stopped mid-celebration after his goal was waved off after an apparent hand-ball ruling.

Neumann’s first goal of the year then tied things. Taekla, with his first of two assists, sent a cross into the box and Neumann punched it past Melton, who hadn’t allowed a goal through the first three games this fall and gave up just one in 951 minutes in net in 2018.

The senior forward was still out of breath well after the game had ended.

“It’s a big game for everybody involved,” Neumann said. “Being able to put it away today was very special being a senior and all.”

Perhaps the best sight of the night, though, was Boulder junior Joaquin Stewart-LaGrave starting at forward for the Panthers. In last year’s game, players from Boulder and Fairview wore yellow shoelaces in support of Stewart-LaGrave, who missed his sophomore season with cancer.

Per a website dedicated to him, stewartlagrave.org, he became “a cancer survivor January 25, 2019.”

As a junior, Stewart-LaGrave returned to the soccer field and has been a critical cog in the Panthers’ attack. He is currently tied for the team lead in goals with two through four games.

“What an emotional game,” Kalisher said. “I can’t even guess what’s going through his head.”