It was three years ago when Air Academy soccer last won its Kadet Kickoff tournament. That same year, the Kadets won the 4A state title.
This year's tournament again went to Air Academy after a 7-2 win over Fruita-Monument in the championship Saturday at D-20 Stadium.
Kadets forward Brittain Romes was a freshman the last time they were crowned the victors of their own tournament. A senior now, Romes started the seven-goal onslaught in the third minute.
Scoring was spread out for the Kadets with seven players finding the back of the net.
"They were thin offside. I played the high line and would get in behind them," Romes said. "All our forwards did that."
Following Romes' goal was Fruita-Monument's Devin Bird with the answering score. The Kadets' rampage ensued with sophomore Henry Yocum, junior captain James Sims, senior Connor Claus and senior captain Alex Granados scoring for a 5-1 halftime lead.
Air Academy had more than enough chances to double its score in the first half but finishing became a problem.
"We could have scored more goals, but we're creating chances and that's a good thing," Kadets coach Espen Hosoien said. "I thought we had more firepower up front to score more, but the goals will come. We just have to keep creating those chances."
In the second half, the Wildcats answered again with a second goal, compliments of Noah Nelson.
But seven minutes later, junior Austin Dewing struck. Sophomore midfielder Cosmo Gayo put the nail in the coffin four minutes later with an unassisted goal.
Kadets' goalkeeper Matt Pipan, a junior, finished the championship game with eight saves. Senior John Sims had two assists, while Romes and senior Jake Bromley each had an assist.
Hosoien said he was pleased to see the team's work ethic throughout the tournament.
"We have 11 players working hard as one unit," he said. "It's good to get used to winning something. It's a good omen going forward."
Air Academy is also using a handful of new varsity players, and the tournament gave the coach a chance to see them in a live game situation, Hosoien said.
Romes said the success of the team from the tournament win will depend on its ability to not over-execute.
"Playing simple, knocking the ball around and finishing our chances when they come up will do it for us," the senior said. "Also, not giving up any goals from our mistakes."
Being his senior year, Romes said this win of the Kadet Kickoff means a lot to him and he hopes the parallel between this season and the championship season continues.
"I really think we could win it this year," Romes said. "Hopefully, this is a steppingstone to that."