Nerves are on edge as 5A soccer playoffs begin


First-round games in the Class 5A state soccer playoffs begin on Oct. 31, which is a day for haunted attractions to scare people.

Well, some soccer coaches are scared, too, as they fear that the preparations made prior to the playoffs may not be enough to face the tough competition.

Like any other sport, injuries play a role in a team’s readiness. Recent playoff experience could help teams, and tough non-league schedules could be beneficial.

However, coaches still worry about if their teams are prepared.

“To be honest, in the playoffs everything is possible,” said Cherry Creek coach Wilmer Barrera. “Right now my job is putting everything down. We have to try to concentrate regardless of who is in front and focus on what we want to accomplish. You need to concentrate. The team that stays focused is the team that wins.”

Castle View coach Mark Burfeind has a few ways to prepare his team for playoff matches.

“We start a strength and conditioning program that starts in June,” explained Burfeind. “The high school season is long and very demanding with a lot of games in a short amount of time. Castle View’s non-league schedule has also been a key component.

“The last component is to manage each player’s workload and recovery. With this many games, we schedule recovery days so we do not overwork our players and they are fresh as we start the playoffs.”

Anthony Romano of top-ranked Legacy emphasizes balance.

“Training sessions have a tendency to change,” he said. “There is a fine line between too much and too little. Psychology comes in making sure the players are excited and not looking past an opponent. You have to have a balance between being calm and excited.”

And what about defense, since you always hear that defense wins championships?

“In soccer it’s a combination of both defense and offense,” added Barrera. “You can defend well but if you don’t score it’s tough to win. Defense is so important but in soccer you have to have goals.”

If recent playoff appearances are important, there are many teams that have played state tournament matches during the past three years.

Those teams are defending champion Arapahoe, Rock Canyon, Castle View, Cherry Creek, Legacy, Grandview and Ralston Valley.

And overall, Broomfield has won seven state titles followed by six by Arapahoe and Cherry Creek. Broomfield’s last title was in 2017, Arapahoe last season and Creek in 2010.

First-round games in the 4A playoffs began Oct. 30.

Rosengarten gets his jersey

Valor Christian lineman Roger Rosengarten was honored at the school with a press conference on Oct. 21 by the All-American Bowl and was presented his All-American jersey.

Rosengarten, who has verbally committed to play at the University of Washington, is the only Colorado athlete selected to play in the annual East vs. West All-American game on Jan. 4, 2020 in the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Honor roll

Each week, south metro athletes are selected for the honor roll, and athletes and teams were chosen for performances in games, matches and meets between Oct. 17 and Oct. 24.

Sophomore Cyrus Gulati scored the only goal of the match in overtime as Cherry Creek’s boys soccer team downed Arapahoe 1-0 on Oct. 22.

Senior Blake Rarog rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns to help Legend’s football team whip Douglas County, 42-0, on Oct. 18.

Ben Beecher, a senior at Ponderosa who is the leading tackler in the 4A Metro League, was in on 14 total tackles, had one sack and two quarterback hurries in the Mustangs’ 42-7 football victory over Gateway on Oct. 17.

Eden McNally had a double and two home runs and finished with six runs batted in as Valor Christian downed Cherry Creek, 10-4, in an Oct. 19 regional softball playoff game.

ThunderRidge senior quarterback Brent Huber accounted for four touchdowns when he passed for 155 yards and rushed for 65 in a 30-6 football win over Rock Canyon on Oct. 18.

Senior Sebastian Garnica scored on a penalty kick in the final 25 seconds to give Littleton a 3-2 soccer victory over Green Mountain on Oct. 22 that assured the Lions of getting one of the two automatic state playoff berths from the 4A Jeffco League. Jorge Aguilar scored the first two goals for Littleton.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

Jim Benton


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