Broomfield senior Elijah Smith’s breakaway goal in the eighth minute of overtime Saturday afternoon at Englewood High School punched the Eagles’ ticket to the Class 5A state semifinals Tuesday, Nov. 7, at the University of Denver.
No. 7-seeded Broomfield grabbed a 2-1 overtime victory over No. 2 Ralston Valley in the second 5A quarterfinal played Saturday at Randy Penn Stadium.
“Although emotions were rushing, I saw the ball go through,” Smith said about the game-winning goal. “I started thinking about it, but I like just run. As soon as I saw the keeper, I hit it with my left foot. That’s my weak foot, but I just went instinctually.”
Smith’s shot got past Ralston Valley senior goalie Evan Bierman to give the Eagles the golden goal victory. Broomfield will face the winner of No. 14 Cherokee Trail and No. 11 Legend next week in the semifinals.
“It was kind of surreal,” Smith said after he saw the ball in the back of the net. “I just kind of collapsed and I didn’t know what to do.”
It was the fifth straight victory for Broomfield (14-2-2 record), who actually tied Ralston Valley (15-1-2) earlier this season. The previously undefeated Mustangs were the highest seed remaining and only 5A team without a loss coming into the quarterfinals.
“If they haven’t lost they are bound to lose at some point,” Smith said about eliminating the highest remaining seed. “We were like, let’s be the ones to put them out.”
Ralston Valley controlled play for the majority of the first 20 minutes, but junior Adam Thresher gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead with a goal in the 22nd minute to take the one-goal lead into halftime.
The Mustangs evened things up midway through the second half with sophomore Henry Brisson’s header goal in the 61st minute. Ralston Valley had back-to-back overtime playoff wins under its belt, but the overtime magic wasn’t on the Mustangs’ side against Broomfield.
“We have been to OT before. We know how to get it done. We know we have to put on the pressure,” Ralston Valley senior captain Ryan Mann said. “At the end of the day, (Broomfield) is a good team and by OT we weren’t good enough. We didn’t have the legs and apparently we didn’t have the will.”
Ralston Valley set a school record with 15 wins this season coming off last year’s campaign of advancing to the 5A state semifinals for the first time in the program’s history.
“Last year and this year were outstanding,” Mann said of the Mustangs racking up a 28-7-2 record and a pair of deep postseason runs. “We have hopefully set the benchmark for RV and hopefully set a good enough model for the ones who come after us to have a good legacy to play for and are proud to wear that badge.”
Mann was named the 5A Jeffco League MVP and Ralston Valley’s first-year coach John Doody took the Coach of the Year honor in 5A Jeffco.
“I’m super proud of these boys,” Mann said. “It was an amazing season. It is something I’ll never forget and I’m truly, truly grateful. I love every single one of these guys like a brother.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.