LAKEWOOD - Senior captains Sam Sheridan and Casey Rothstein remember what it was like to be a part of the boys' lacrosse program as freshmen. Irrelevant, overlooked and mediocre is how the two described that team.
That's why, strangely enough, Friday's loss to Class 4A power Wheat Ridge was so meaningful.
The eighth-seeded Indians (11-6) gave the top-seeded Farmers (14-4) one of their few tests of their year, but eventually lost 10-5 in the boys' state quarterfinals at Trailblazer Stadium. Johnny Roach scored three quick goals in the first quarter and ended with four on the night, and Dima Makarov scored with 2.7 remaining in the second quarter and with 0.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter to help quash Cheyenne Mountain's season in the state quarterfinals for the second consecutive year.
"Ever since we were freshmen we just wanted a chance to face Wheat Ridge," said Sheridan, who will play at Colorado College next year. "Of course we wanted it to be in the state championship game and we wanted it to be a win at the end, but this was still pretty great."
Cheyenne Mountain has quickly become one of 4A's best over the past four years under coach Mike Paige, but Wheat Ridge proved why it is in a class of its own.
And the Famers best player, and smallest, Roach, took over early. Standing at 5-foot-5, Roach used his speed to twist up the Indians' defense and scored the game's first three goals of the game in the first 6:31.
Later in the first quarter, he tossed a 40-yard pass into the lap of teammate Dan O'Connor, who flicked it in from a couple yards out to put the Farmers up 4-0.
With that, you can't blame Wheat Ridge for being surprised with what happened next. The Indians punched back.
Following crosschecking penalties on the Farmers, Mitch Reddish and Rothstein cut the deficit in half before Sheridan took a pass from Kai Case on the end of a fastbreak and scored to put the deficit at only 4-3 with 2:24 left in the half.
"They came out and showed us we better not take them lightly," said Roach, whose team has not lost to 4A competition since early last year. "We turned it on after that."
Wheat Ridge outscored Cheyenne Mountain 4-1 in the third quarter, and took a stranglehold of the game thanks to relentless defense.
Sheridan did his best Superman impression in the third quarter, leaping in front of the net head first to score his second goal of the game in the third quarter.
Mitch Paige scored late in the fourth to cut the lead to 9-5.
"I'm proud of this team with how they played this game and this season," Mike Paige said. "We are excited with this program and the steps it has taken in four years. And next year, we won't have to deal with Wheat Ridge either."
The Farmers are headed to 5A next season.