The first game of the first round of 4A league playoffs took place at Denver North High School against the Littleton Lions. The Littleton Lions are now disqualified and out of the playoffs after a 2-0 loss against the Vikings.
The game immediately heated up as consistent physical contact and fast-paced play was initiated by both teams. Early in the game, the referee called a foul inside of the Lions’ 6 and a penalty kick was called in favor of Denver North. From then on, the scoreboard remained at 1-0 and Littleton struggled to get back in the game.
Denver North had every player moving in all the right places and the Lions were getting overworked. Starting players like Ruben Cervantez and Omar Serrano had several key plays close to the 18-yard box, but not many shots were taken.
As the game continued, North’s possession stayed at a high intensity. The Lions were still battling for the ball, but unexpectedly, a North forward dribbled and took a shot through the defensive line. The ball was almost saved by goalie Luis Ramos, but it went in, leaving the score for the first half at 2-0.
“It was a really tough game and we left it all on the field with mistakes and it cost us the game. It’s kind of heartbreaking,” said junior defender Nick Zirkle.
Throughout the second half, there were opportunities towards the goal, but not many shots were able to be taken because Denver North’s defense worked to prevent execution.
Though the Lions fought hard, the game ended with a 2-0 score, qualifying Denver North for the next round of playoffs. Even if the score was disappointing to the boys, they have hope for next year’s potential.
“We do have a massive freshmen class this year, so it’ll be good to see how the team lines up next year. I guess their energy and youthfulness, but this was a really good year and I can’t thank the seniors enough,” said Zirkle.
As the Lions look ahead, there are many players that will continue to lead Littleton next year while holding on to their experiences from this year’s season.
“It feels really cool because I’m also starting so it’s a cool experience for us to have to play with seniors because I usually just play with my age group,” said freshman forward Oliver Garnica.
The result today may not have favored Littleton, but there are high hopes for their upcoming season, although the seniors will be missed. The Lions remain proud of their success and continue to look to improve the results for next year’s competition.