The Danes were caught chasing their own tail.
Fountain Valley spent most of the first half missing on open opportunities, including a penalty kick that clinked off the cross bar. The intensity wasn't there, and it showed to coach Kevin Ray.
The final 40 minutes were a different game altogether as freshman Jordan Nunez sparked the Danes offense en route to a 5-0 win over hosting Colorado Springs Christian School.
He netted two goals to add to his team-high total which now sits at 13.
An outburst of three goals in only 11 minutes to end the game showed the bite the Danes possess, especially when they're focused. Even the scores that look impossible begin to go in, as they did when junior Chase Wallace fired from deep and found the upper right corner of the net — a goal so improbable, it left him with his hands on his head.
"We learned what our power was," Nunez said. "Once we warmed up a bit, we started to communicate. We were in a drought coming in, so we wanted to put some in the back of the net."
The drought was all of two games. For the first time this year, the Danes had a multiple-game losing streak. Both Colorado Academy and Thomas MacLaren — top-five schools in their respective classifications — got the best of Fountain Valley, outscoring it 7-2 in the losses.
The state tournament will have plenty of Colorado Academy's and Thomas MacLaren's, though.
Ray believes his team is on the same level, the players just have to realize it for themselves.
"We've talked a lot about desire and commitment," Ray said. "In the first half, we didn't have those things. We do it in practice every day. When you up your intensity, you'll win games.
"We've got a big game coming up, and if we want to compete for a state championship, we have to come in and dominate."
Loveland Classical, 2A's sixth-ranked squad, will host Fountain Valley Monday in what figures to shake up those rankings.
Destiny is in the players' hands.
After the game, Ray encouraged his team to discuss what went so right in the second half, as compared to a lackluster start.
He then walked away, and allowed his group — one that ranges from a freshman leading scorer to senior captains — to brainstorm. Every answer went back to being themselves.
The Danes fought their own mistakes, but in large part, battled against the worse version of themselves for all of 42 minutes to start the game.
Fountain Valley's better version lies in its ability to outscore opponents 46-18 through 10 games. It lies in the ability to make crisp passes, open up strikers and play suffocating defense that's often egged on by Ray's constant calls for pressure.
"We have to make sure we start how we did in today's second half," Ray said. "Teams will have to be wary of us. If we don't other teams will put five goals past us just like we did to the Lions today."