ARVADA — An opening gone wrong and Niwot’s season was down to a flicker.
Trapped in an early hole, soon it was buried for good, too.
Golden — which flexed as the second seed in the opening 90 seconds of its 1-0 first-round win over No. 31 Denver West — rushed out to another quick lead against the No. 15 Cougars and held on for a 3-0 victory at North Area Athletic Complex Tuesday night.
Christian Sekavac scored in the 10th minute and Daniel Erger tallied another 2 minutes and 12 seconds later for the Demons. Joaquin Garfias added a penalty kick goal in the 26th.
“Golden just came out of the gate really, really quick and had us on our heels for like the first 15 (minutes),” Niwot coach Stephen Dimit said. “After that we were able to level it out … but that was a lot to battle back from.”
The Cougars had no answer from their offense, one that proved dynamic and unrelenting at times in 2019.
In one sequence, already down 3-0, Keegan Stobbe spun around a defender to position himself in the box and left a nifty pass to Aidan Martin, who pummeled a chance off the goalie. A rebound then went to Jared Osteen, who sent his shot just over the crossbar.
“We had a few chances tonight that we could have put away,” Dimit said. “We got a little unlucky in front of the goal.”
Golden (15-1-1), winners of 12 straight, moves into the Class 4A quarterfinals. Saturday, it hosts the surprise of the bracket — No. 26 Centaurus.
Niwot (11-6), meanwhile, looks to 2020 after its season ended in the second round for a second straight year.
“It’s been a season of adversity,” senior defender Andy Worrell said. “We’ve had our backs against the wall so many times. Just to get here was phenomenal. Everybody wants to go higher — everybody on the team knew we could do it — but sometimes the ball doesn’t roll your way.”
Niwot started the season 2-4 before rattling off eight straight wins to put itself in postseason position. It then lost to Silver Creek 1-0 for the Northern League title on Oct. 22 before beating No. 18 Regis Groff in the opening round last weekend.
“We showed we could battle each and every game,” an emotional Worrell said. “We knew we could get back here, and props to everyone on the team because we did just that. We found our way here.”