WESTMINSTER — With a No. 9 patch sewn on special orange jerseys — the number and favorite color of the late Chris Reagan — the soccer program at Legacy paid tribute to one of its former star players Thursday afternoon.
Perhaps only fitting, another of the school’s greats took it one step further by doing what he does best.
Reigning BoCoPreps.com player of the year Cooper Stephens scored twice and the Lightning beat Monarch 3-0 in its annual game dedicated to Reagan, who was a standout soccer player at the high school before he died in a car crash in 2008.
“We play a game every year in tribute to him,” said Lightning coach Tony Romano, who said he had a close relationship with Reagan when he was an assistant with the program in the late 2000s. “He was a real contributor to the Legacy soccer community, both when he was here and ever since.”
Legacy (8-1, 2-1 Front Range League South), ranked second in this week’s CHSAA Class 5A coaches’ poll, had two goals in the final 3:14 of the opening half at North Stadium en route to its second straight league win.
In a half that saw little to no separation for much of the first 37 minutes, Zachary Nickell spoiled a scoreless game with his first point of the season, scoring between a pair of defenders inside the box.
Not three minutes later, Stephens thumped an odd bouncing ball from 30 yards out that slipped past freshman keeper Logan Slusarchyk for his first of the game. His eighth goal this month then came against other Coyotes keeper Lochlin Cole after the break, drilling a penalty past him in the 73rd.
“It’s a pretty big honor to play for him,” said Stephens, who drew positive comparisons to Reagan from his coach. “He loved the game. We love the game. We played for him today.”
Monarch (7-2, 2-1), which moved into the top 10 for the first time in years, had its six-game winning streak snapped.
The 10th-ranked Coyotes had a great chance to take control in the 18th on a shot by John Spong that went just wide. Then almost did again in the 22nd as Sean Kendall’s header with his back to the net was caught by keeper Wesley Hempelmann.
The Coyotes and the Lightning are just a game back of the league lead.
“I have set goals for the team that we need to win every month,” Monarch coach Ryan Brady said. “We won August (3-1). We just won September (4-1). We win October, we get ourselves in the top 32 (for the state postseason) and anything can happen.”
Monarch will host Boulder Monday, followed by an away game at Fairview next Thursday.
Legacy is at Mountain Range Tuesday, then is at home against Horizon Thursday.