Golden unable to breakdown organized quarterfinal foe

Denver North wins 4A state playoff match

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 4/30/21

DENVER — Denver North has taken a step toward another shot at winning the school’s first boys soccer state championship title. The No. 5-seeded Vikings dominated No. 13 Golden in a Class 4A state …

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Golden unable to breakdown organized quarterfinal foe

Denver North wins 4A state playoff match

Posted

DENVER — Denver North has taken a step toward another shot at winning the school’s first boys soccer state championship title.

The No. 5-seeded Vikings dominated No. 13 Golden in a Class 4A state quarterfinal match Saturday, April 24, at Denver North High School. Seniors Alex Martinez and Aaron Cendejas put in second-half goals for Denver North to give the Vikings a 2-0 victory over the Demons.

“Coming in as an underdog a lot of teams don’t take us seriously,” Martinez said. “Sooner or later we’ll get more respect to our name. If not, we are going to make a name for ourselves.”

Denver North has been one of the most consistent 4A boys soccer programs over the past four seasons. The Vikings have advanced to the state quarterfinals each of the past four years, including a berth in the 4A championship game in 2018. Air Academy defeated Denver North 2-0 a few seasons ago.

Golden (6-5-1 record) never got many scoring chances. The Demons were coming off a first-round road upset victory against No. 4 Skyview on Thursday, April 22, but couldn’t find their offense against Denver North.

“They did not give us an inch,” Golden coach Larry Harding said of the Vikings. “They are technical. They have a very good team. Our boys played as hard as they could. Denver North is just the better team.”

Harding graduates a dozen seniors and he won’t get much time to reflect on the season. Harding turns around Monday with tryouts as the head coach for Golden’s girls soccer team.

Despite being a scoreless game through the first half, Denver North controlled the run of play and coach Clay Porter knew if his team stuck to its game the goals would eventually come against Golden.

“These guys have been doing this for four years now,” Porter said. “I put club teams together so these guys can play year-round together. The style we play gets everyone involved. I think that gets everyone more excited to play.”

Martinez brought the excitement with a goal in the 47th minute to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead. Junior Ian Najar fed a long pass ahead as instructed by Martinez.

“I noticed that (Golden’s) back line was pushing up and leaving a wide gap,” Martinez said. “I told my center back Ian to play my through. I was able to control it and volleyed it into the side of the net. It gave us the momentum we needed and we finished off strong.”

Martinez, along with fellow seniors Axel Ruiz and Cendejas combined to make it a 2-goal lead in the 61st minute. Martinez fired a pass to Ruiz, who found Cendejas open in front of the Demons’ net. Cendejas tucked the ball into the back of the net for the final goal of the game.

“We talk about composure a lot,” Martinez said. “Calming down and finishing. We took that into the second half. We slowed things down and started playing our game.”

Denver North (11-1) continues its quest for a state title when it faces No. 8 Lewis-Palmer (10-2) in the semifinals Wednesday, April 28, at Legacy Stadium in Aurora. The Rangers scored a 4-0 victory Saturday against top-seeded Battle Mountain.

The Vikings are two wins away from capturing the school’s first team state championship in any gender or sport since 1977. Denver North’s last state title was the AAA baseball crown 44 years ago.

“It’s not about one player. The whole team is what brings us together,” Martinez said. “Everyone has their own skill set that brings us closer as a team.”

Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage go to CHSAANow.com/Jeffco.

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