Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer
COLORADO SPRINGS — Fairview boys soccer turned Cherry Creek’s Class 5A state playoff carriage back into a pumpkin.
On Saturday afternoon at Weidner Field, the second-seeded Knights ended No. 16 Cherry Creek’s Cinderella story as Fairview went on to win its first 5A boys soccer title in a thrilling, 2-0 finish.
“It doesn’t get better than that. Our school has never won a championship before,” senior Sebastien Mazur said. “We’ve been grinding all season. My sophomore year, we won every game — I don’t want to say easily, but we had it in the bag. This year, we’ve had to grind out every win. We’ve come from behind twice. I think that really shows the grit this team has that previous Fairview teams haven’t had.”
Had Cherry Creek won, it would have been the Bruins’ seventh boys soccer title and first since 2010. Fairview (13-0-1) will now take home its first in program history after previously losing its only other title game appearance in 1984 to Northglenn, 2-1.
“It feels like they’re finally where they’re supposed to be,” head coach Eric Schuler said. “There’s a legacy to this program that exists far beyond this team. It’s our captains from the last few years, coaches like Jeff Frykholm, captains like Alex Mercier and Jake Ketchner and Sajji Singh and all these guys that came before us that set the standard for what these guys were able to finish off today. It feels like we got the job done for guys that have put in a lot of work for us.”
The match was anything but clean.
Sloppy play in a scoreless first half was followed by a heightened level of intensity in the second. In the last 40 minutes alone, the officials penalized both Fairview and Cherry Creek with a total of five yellow cards.
A scoreless first 40 also heated up on offensive opportunities after the break.
Fairview picked up a yellow card in the goal box in the 44th minute, which set Cherry Creek’s Carter Loui up for a penalty kick within close range. He could not convert, however, the pressure of the perfect opportunity nipping at his nerves as he sent the ball up and over the crossbar.
Fairview keeper Shane Williams let out a “very big (sigh).”
“I’ve faced a lot of PKs,” he said, “and it’s not often that they miss, so it always feels good when they do. If they had scored that, they would have had the momentum but because they didn’t, they gave us all of it.”
The Knights, on the other hand, didn’t squander their chance.
Six minutes later, Sebastien Mazur squared up with Cherry Creek keeper Knox Quarles. This time, the shooter broke through as Mazur netted the first goal of the game from about 20 yards out.
Throughout the next 30 minutes, Cherry Creek pressured Williams time and again, including two quick shots on goal in a span of a few seconds in the 66th minute. Fairview’s impenetrable defense wouldn’t let the Bruins gain an inch.
Just as time was about to expire, Tristan Hird dotted the exclamation point on the Knights’ game-winning effort as he added his own name to the history books with a second score. On a cross from Mason Sunderland, Hird slid into Quarles as the ball squeaked by him and into the net.
The clock hit zeroes just two minutes later, and the Knights’ bench sprinted onto the field to celebrate with teammates. With that, this Fairview team forever enshrined itself in program history.
“We’re going to have a banner on the wall now. Our names are in Fairview history, which is awesome. I feel so proud of my school. Everyone else feels proud to be representing Fairview,” Mazur said. “They wanted it. They put up a fight and that’s why their banner says ‘bracket busters.’ They came in as a 16 seed and they put up a hell of a fight.”