LITTLETON — It was the soccer version of the hurry-up offensive play that helped Arapahoe’s boys soccer team advance to the Class 5A state quarterfinals. The No. 8-seeded Warriors scored in the …
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LITTLETON — It was the soccer version of the hurry-up offensive play that helped Arapahoe’s boys soccer team advance to the Class 5A state quarterfinals.
The No. 8-seeded Warriors scored in the 15th minute on a lightning quick throw-in, centering pass and tap-in goal to take a 1-0 victory over No. 9 Arvada West on a chilly Halloween night at Littleton Public Schools Stadium.
Arapahoe’s leading scorer — senior Cameron Gail — did most of the work taking a quick throw-in deep in A-West’s end. Gail was able to center a pass before the Wildcats’ defense could close in. The pass eventually found the foot of sophomore Jay Wolf who banged it past A-West senior goalie Latham Kleckner.
“I just knew we had the pace on them. So, I need I had to take a run on the outside,” Gail said talking about his assist on the lone goal of the night. “I got the cross in and (Wolf) made a run in front of his guy and got his foot on it. It was amazing.”
Arapahoe (14-1-2 record) moved on to get a crack at top-seeded and undefeated Fairview (17-1). The Warriors defeated the No. 1 Knights 1-0 in Boulder to advance to the 5A semifinals Thursday, Nov. 7, at Echo Park Stadium in Parker.
“I just think we weren’t ready to defend,” said A-West coach Troy Gette, who admitted the Wildcats had another slow start that has plagued them this season. “They kind of went fast on us and we weren’t ready yet.”
The Wildcats (13-4) did produce a handful of scoring chances after trailing 1-0. Senior Evan Keasling had a hard shot saved by Arapahoe senior goalie Spencer Cobb in the 23rd minute of the first half.
A-West sophomore Gabe Schultz and junior Judah Johnston provided pressure in the second half, but the Wildcats couldn’t manage to get the equalizing goal.
“I thought we played hard in the second half,” Gette said. “I really think we dominated in the second half. We just didn’t score.”
A-West’s previous deepest playoff run was in 2015. The Wildcats advanced to the 5A state quarterfinals. A-West has never won a boys soccer state championship. Gette will return a solid squad that includes all his top scorers.
“The experience in playoffs is huge. You have to view it as a one-game tournament every playoff game,” Gette said. “This experience will hopefully carry over for next year.”
Arapahoe had back-to-back state quarterfinal appearances in 2015 and 2016. The Warriors are looking to win their sixth boys soccer state title. It has been more than two decades — 1997 — since Arapahoe lifted the 5A boys soccer state trophy.
Dennis Pleuss is a communications specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a focus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com/Jeffco.
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