No. 1 Cheyenne Mountain 11, No. 5 Green Mountain 7
Arvada’s North Area Athletic Complex: For the second consecutive year, Cheyenne Mountain is headed to the Class 4A state championship game. The Indians easily handled Green Mountain on Wednesday in the semifinals, thanks in part to senior Ike Eastburn scoring a game-best five goals.
Four of Eastburn’s scores came before halftime.
Zak Paige, Wiley Burkett and Cole Mika each finished with two goals for the Indians (16-2), while Paige and Mitchell Lewis had two assists apiece. Goalkeeper Liam Hybl recorded 10 saves.
The Indians had a 3-1 advantage after the first quarter.
From there, Cheyenne Mountain (16-2) was hard to beat.
It boasted a big 9-3 advantage before the final period. Green Mountain issued a meaningless late four-goal rally.
The Rams finished the season with a 15-3 mark.
Cheyenne Mountain will play No. 7 Golden — an 11-7 winner over No. 3 Thompson Valley in the other semifinals game — on Monday afternoon. The state championship match starts 5 p.m. at All-City Stadium in Denver.
Golden (12-6) has knocked off the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds in the state tournament.
In 2018, the Indians won their first state title by beating Dawson. No. 7 Cheyenne Mountain was down 4-3 at halftime before eventually claiming an 8-6 win over the top-ranked team.
So far this postseason, the Indians have cruised.
They opened the 4A tournament with a 22-2 win over No. 16 Holy Family, thanks to six goals apiece by Eastburn and Burkett.
In the quarterfinals, Cheyenne Mountain continued to dominate. The Indians beat No. 9 Evergreen 13-6 with three players — James LaCerte, Eastburn and Mika — racking up three goals each.
Cheyenne Mountain has proven all season it is the team to beat in Colorado despite losing 10 seniors from last year’s team to graduation — including attacker August Johnson, who now plays at Air Force.
This season, the Indians’ two losses came against out-of-state teams. They fell to two strong teams in a tournament in Virginia but quickly bounced back against opponents in Colorado.
They even took down Class 5A’s Grandview, which eventually qualified for its classification’s state tournament as the No. 6 seed.
This season, the Indians have outscored opponents 277-91.
Midway through the season, Burkett — who leads the Indians with a staggering 66 goals, second most in the state — recognized the caliber of his team’s talent.
“I didn’t expect us to be this strong this quick,” Burkett, a signee with Division II’s Limestone College in South Carolina, told The Gazette earlier this season. “But I think we can make a run for the state championship again.”
No. 21 Cheyenne Mountain 3, No. 4 Wheat Ridge 1
At Lakewood Memorial Field: Cheyenne Mountain’s Cinderella story continues, thanks to another upset win — this time against a tough Wheat Ridge team — to advance to the Class 4A semifinals.
They will face No. 8 Silver Creek — which knocked off No. 1 D’Evelyn in the quarterfinals — on Saturday at Legacy Stadium in Aurora.
On Wednesday, the Indians (9-8) went ahead 2-1 at halftime. They had an insurance goal with about 12 minutes left to pull off the stunner against Wheat Ridge (14-3-1).
Cheyenne Mountain has been taking down higher-seeded teams throughout the postseason.
Last week, the Indians pulled off a major upset by beating No. 5 Air Academy in a double-overtime thriller.