Heavy precipitation was an statement. A steady light rain led to a full-on storm, and when the second half began Monday night, the entire field was the same color as the white ball, and players were drenched.
It was a Class 5A state field game championship game to remember for the Cherry Creek Bruins, who appeared to handle the May blizzard better than the Kent Denver Sun Devils in front of a frigid crowd at All-City bowl.
After a 5-5 tie at pause, the Bruins dominated as the conditions worsened, and they strutted off with a 12-7 triumph for their seventh state title and third in the last five years. A yellow game ball was introduced early in the second half — a stretch in which Cherry Creek outscored Kent Denver 7-2.
“It’s the same for some teams. I think our guys just really enjoyed being out here and getting after it in this weather,” Cherry Creek coach Matt Bocklet aforementioned. “It seemed to actually loosen us up in the second half, when we played with more energy. Who expects snow like this on May 20? I’ve certainly never played in a blizzard. Testament to CHSAA for making sure that they were shoveling the lines and making sure we could get the game in.”
Senior Connor Terrell had four goals for the Bruins, and juniors Dante Orlando and Aiden Burke each had three. Cherry Creek senior goalie Chandler Nayman outperformed the Sun Devils’ tandem of Benjamin Shapiro (first half) and Henry Caulkins (second).
“We came out really confident. It was 5-5 at half, but we knew the whole game we would come out strong in the second half,” Terrell aforementioned. “Whole year we’ve been a second-half team. That’s how we do it.”
Footwork wasn’t a problem on a drenched field in the first half. But as the snow intense, the game slowed down.
“It was getting tough. It was jutting to the cleats,” Terrell aforementioned. “But they had to play with it too.”
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Kent Denver dominated early and went ahead 2-0 on goals by Maxwell Hewitt and kid Melvin. But the Bruins responded, marking the next three goals and five of the next six. Terrell and Burke each had two each during that stretch.
The Bruins took a 5-3 lead with Terrell’s goal with 1:29 to play in the second quarter, but the Sun Devils smitten doubly in the final minute (Payton Lester and Hewitt).
Cherry Creek finished 17-2, avenging its 9-8 overtime loss to Kent Denver in the regular-season finale. The Sun Devils complete 15-4.
Kent Denver 2 3 2 0 — 7
Cherry Creek 2 3 4 3 — 12
Goals — KD, Melvin (2), Hewitt (2), Wells, Lester, Bowler. CC, Terrell (4), Orlando (3), Burke (3), Olson, Stein. Assists — KD, Lester. CC, Minisini (2), Burke, Stein, Atwell.