During the season's first 12 games, Sand Creek's offense roared relentlessly through its opposition, averaging more than seven goals in rolling to a 11-0-1 start.
The Scorpions met their match Tuesday at Air Academy in a 4-1 setback.
"When you're coming up, everybody is stepping up with immediate pressure," Sand Creek senior Aidan Brown said. "They're always on you."
Thaddeus Dewing scored 4:49 into the game, Aiden Schwenke and Andrew Hess added first-half goals, and Thomas Beatty stopped all five shots that came his way as Air Academy (13-0, 5-0 4A/5A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference) became the first team to shut down the Scorpions (11-1-1, 3-1-1).
Sand Creek's only goal came when Hess inadvertently headed the ball into his own net on a clearing attempt off a long inbound pass with 6:33 left.
"We call ourselves 'the brick wall in the back,' and we have a lot of pride in our defense," Kadets junior defender Brayden Jonswold said. "Sand Creek has a great offense; their middies are all over the place. It was important for us to communicate to each other. The ultimate goal is to get a shutout, but if we can get 4-1 wins for the rest of the season, we're going to take that."
Air Academy provided the pressure in the first half, beating Sand Creek at its own transition game. Ryan Self booted a long pass that Dewing tracked down on the right side of box. The junior then dribbled and let a low shot go, as two defenders converged, that beat Scorpions goalie Branyon Murdoch.
Not quite 10 minutes later, Schwenke gathered a loose ball near the top of the penalty area and caromed one off the left post and into the net.
The Kadets got another fortuitous bounce when Hess, after receiving a pass off a Cal Yocom corner kick, turned around and sent one toward the net that deflected into the net off a Scorpions defender with 12:11 remaining in the first half.
"The chances in the first half were pretty even, but they finished theirs," Sand Creek coach Jeremy Tafoya said. "To me, that was a big difference in the game. They put theirs away and we didn't. You have to score goals."
Sand Creek was without Alan Bautista, the team's second-leading scorer with 23 goals, who was with his family in Florida as District 49's fall break is underway. The sophomore and native of Mexico City is spending one year in Colorado Springs through a military exchange program while his father trains with the U.S. military.
"It was a shame they weren't at full strength," Kadets coach Espen Hosoien said. "We wanted to see if we could have handled him. Maybe we'll get a chance with them again down the line."
Luke Louthan finished the scoring for Air Academy with 19:26 left, taking a nice pass from Schwenke and one-timing it past Murdoch.