COMMERCE CITY — Broomfield coach Jim Davidson has a lot things to remember about various teams. What he's going to remember about the 2019 version of the Eagles is that youth didn't deter greatness.
He acknowledged that this was a team that needed to learn how to grow. How to persevere. In a way, that's what made the 1-0 win over Regis Jesuit Friday night so fitting. It gave his team not just the Class 5A boys soccer state title - the eighth in program history, a state record - but it gave them validation in their process.
The Eagles (17-2-1 overall) had to grow and learn from their misses. They had to persevere when it felt like the ball wasn't rolling their way on the grass at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
Gustavo Gutierrez was a perfect example of that perseverance. Early on he had a shot that carried over the crossbar. Shortly after, Evan Stearns played a perfect ball his way and he tried to head the ball into the net, but Raiders keeper Trey Tomlin made the save. He had look after look, but the ball just wasn't getting into the net.
"There are times in games like this when you want to try and put the ball in the back of the net and get one as quick as possible," Gutierrez said. "You have to take your opportunities."
He had no problem there, they just weren't getting converted.
Even the penalty kick opportunity in the 56th minute didn't go as planned. It was Gutierrez taking the shot adn Tomlin made a great move and got his body on it.
But he couldn't save the rebound. Gutierrez followed his attempt right up and converted the games only goal in that instant.
"The thing about Goose is that he's put us on his back all season long," Davidson said. "He is absolutely exceptional. He's our best player and your best players have to be awesome in these kinds of games."
That can be said for the back line as well as keep Jack Stoecker. Early in the first half, the Raiders (16-2-2) had more than their share of solid looks. Casey McCloskey made every corner kick and adventure for the spectators as he placed the ball in perfect spots. At one point, a teammate got his head on it and it looked as though Regis was about to take the lead.
Until Stoecker knocked it away. When the Eagles shifted into a defensive mentality, he was able to come up big when he needed to and became a big reason why state championship hardware is traveling west on Highway 36.
"I have to be a leader and I have to be accountable for my defense and for the team," Stoecker said. "I put a lot of pressure on myself but I think that makes me better and it helps the team."
But it was far from an individual effort.
"Everyone has to play their role," he added.
The forwards such as Gutierrez. The defenders such as Stearns.
He didn't stop there. Coaches. Managers. Trainers.
Everyone has a role to play and if played up to expectations, a state championship can can certainly be won.