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Face first: Broomfield’s Johnson, Von play hero in double OT thriller

Broomfield's Marcus Von maneuvers around Cherry Creek's Reed Schneider during the Eagles' home game against Cherry Creek in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs Tuesday night. (Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps).
Broomfield’s Marcus Von maneuvers around Cherry Creek’s Reed Schneider during the Eagles’ home game against Cherry Creek in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs Tuesday night. (Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps).

BROOMFIELD — Marcus Von’s face stung a bit in the aftermath of No. 4 seeded Broomfield soccer’s second-round Class 5A state playoff home game on Tuesday night, but the pain was a constant reminder of the thrill of victory after 106 minutes spent trying to take down No. 13 Cherry Creek.

His crowning moment came with 3:29 left in the second overtime when senior Cooper Johnson delivered the dagger from a corner kick right into the side of his head. It floated past Bruins keeper Hojin Lee and into the back of the net, as players and Eagle fans alike erupted in jubilation after the 2-1 victory.

Sudden death takes on a different meaning when a bid for the state quarterfinals is on the line. Von didn’t want history to repeat itself and he had a little divine intervention to help him along the way.

“Last year, we lost the second round of playoffs in the second OT. To make it to the second round of playoffs in the second OT again, there was no way I was going to miss this (header),” Von said. “I saw it going and I was just so happy. I looked over, saw Cooper in the corner, saw all my guys. I’m so thankful. I was praying before. I was like, ‘Please God, let me get a goal.’”

The ending to a long, stressful match illuminated everything first-year head coach Zach Hindman had been preaching all season long: grit, brotherhood and mental toughness. The boys exhibited every one of those characteristics up until the ball tickled the back of the net one last time.

“They’re confident,” Hindman said. “They know that even when something might get a little bit hard that that’s OK. And that’s the message that we’re sending. It’s never going to be easy and that’s part of why we love playing such a difficult schedule and being in that Front Range League because we’ve been in games like this every single week since the season started. We got probably the second toughest schedule in the state and it makes us tougher, and it makes us able to respond well in these types of situations.”

Nearly 74 minutes passed before a single goal went up on the board, and junior Luis Meza Acosta was more than happy to put an end to that drought with a sliding kick. The Eagles’ elation didn’t last long, though.

Broomfield's Elijah Smith sprints ahead of Cherry Creek's Col Brown to maintain possession during the Eagles' home game against Cherry Creek in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs on Nov. 1, 2022. (By Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps).
Broomfield’s Elijah Smith sprints ahead of Cherry Creek’s Col Brown to maintain possession during Tuesday’s Class 5A state playoff game played at Broomfield High. (Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps).

Cherry Creek earned a free kick with just one minute left in regulation and didn’t waste it. The Bruins tied the game in the final seconds to ensure it wouldn’t end after 80 minutes, but that last-minute snub lit a fire under Broomfield’s players.

The Eagles controlled the first overtime and took one strong shot on goal after another. They consistently put the pressure on Lee and his defense and hardly let their opponent return the favor.

Still, they couldn’t put the final nail in the Bruins’ campaign, not until the clock hit 3:29 in the second overtime.

“When you experience adversity, it’s easier to raise up, to elevate to the occasion,” Hindman said. “I think we saw that tonight. You give up a goal in the last minute and that’s a huge momentum swing going into overtime. It’s incredibly difficult to deal with and I thought the boys showed a lot of toughness and a lot of grit to shake that off and to just trust that the way that we play will get us the results as long as we stick with it and not panic.”

Now, the Eagles will look toward their next date with No. 12 Fairview in Saturday’s quarterfinals at Englewood High School. The two squads know each other quite well through FRL play as Broomfield took the Knights down 3-1 in their last meeting a month earlier.

Legacy ends Castle View’s run

Just a few miles away, Legacy’s top-seeded Lightning continued their run toward the title game with a 2-0 win over No. 17 Castle View.

Junior defender Gavin Gartner eased Legacy’s tension a bit when he put the ball in the back of the net in the 28th minute on an assist from senior defender Tate Hansen. The Lightning, however, didn’t give themselves enough of a cushion until about the 60th minute, when Zachary Nickell aided in Cooper Stephens’ score midway through the second half.

“The game had lots of absent flows to it,” head coach Tony Romano said. “I think we almost scored a few times in the first 15 minutes and then we did score midway through the first half, but it was called back for offsides. As the first half went on, it became a little more even-played. They almost scored immediately before we got the first goal so it was a very good feeling to go into halftime up by one. The boys played the first half very composed and strategically. The second half was a little more the little more of two teams just running and gunning.”

With the win, the Lightning secured their spot in Saturday’s quarterfinals at Englewood High School, where they’ll face off with No. 8 Ralston Valley.