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Boys soccer: Jefferson Academy convincingly beats Liberty Common in state semifinals

Jaguars will face Roaring Fork in Friday’s title game


A near-perfect season got even better for Jefferson Academy in the 3A state semifinals.

The No. 1-seeded Jaguars cruised past No. 4 Liberty Common 3-0 to send themselves into Friday’s state championship game.

“We just have some great guys that can put some teams under,” said Jags head coach Matt Cassell. “We took advantage of our opportunities and now we get to go play in the state championship. These guys have earned the right to do something that’s once in a lifetime.”

Jefferson Academy (18-0-1, 10-0 3A Metro) will now meet No. 11 Roaring Fork at Switchbacks Weidner Field in Colorado Springs. The win also gave Jefferson Academy a taste of revenge seven months after Liberty Common beat the Jaguars 1-0 in the first round of last season’s playoffs.

“We have a long history with these guys, lots of games and they always match up really well with us,” Cassell said. “For us to come out and get this result with this scoreline is a really, really big moment.”

Cassell, who was the program’s first head coach when it began 11 years ago, will take his Jaguars to the state championship game for the second time — the last being in 2016.

Junior Chrisly Kelly sparked the Jaguars’ offense in the 14th minute when he scored his 10th goal of the season. The 1-0 lead turned out to be plenty for Jefferson Academy on a chilly Wednesday night at host Frederick High School.

Just over five minutes into the second half, junior Evan Tran scored next to give the Jaguars some comfort. Tran’s goal was just his second of the season to put his team up 2-0 in its biggest game of the season.

The lead was kept safe courtesy of a defensive unit that held its opponent scoreless for the 15th time this season. At goalkeeper, senior Andrew “Bear” Bauer was flawless.

“Our defense lets us push things forward and work on offense,” Kelly said. “This defense is amazing.”

Some extra insurance was added in the 73rd minute when Jeremiah Davis used some footwork trickery and created a successful shot. The 3-0 lead held for an impressive state semifinals victory.

Jefferson Academy and Roaring Fork, which came from behind to beat Atlas Preparatory School 3-1 in its semifinal game, will kick things off at 5:15 on Friday in Colorado Springs.

“Our mindset is to go at it from the start,” Kelly said. “Nothing has been (accomplished) yet; 18-0-1 hasn’t won anybody nothing yet.”