The road to state ends short of victory for record-setting Jags
By Andrew Bohren, RCHS intern writer; photo courtesy of RCHS
While the Jags boys soccer loss in double overtime of the state
championship did not end the season in the perfect way, the team made
Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) history.
Just over one year ago, the RCHS boys soccer team sat in the locker
room of Boulder High School knowing that their season had finished but
that their future was bright. They knew they would have returning
players, high-quality fresh faces, and seventeen seniors to lead them
all the way to the state championship at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
They didn’t know however, that the long road to the championship game
would take every player, not just a couple.
A roster of more than 20 players is very high for a soccer team,
given only 11 can be out on the field at once. During preseason, there
were more than 20 seniors who had planned to try out for this year’s
team. If there was one thing that was certain going into the season, it
was that this team would be by far the deepest team RCHS had ever seen.
No more were games put into the hands of one player to do all the
dirty work. Instead, games were put into the hands of the 11 on the
field, proven by the fact that more than 10 players on the team had at
least one goal during the season.
The depth of the team came through every game of the season, from
the first scrimmage to double overtime of the championship game. Before
the season had started, the team had lost seniors Kyle Huebsch and
Quentin Boose to tears of their MCL and ACL respectively, and senior
captains Jake Battock and Kyle Rimer suffered ankle and hip injuries
that kept them out for most of the first half of the season.
Junior Lukas Larsson was also told by doctors he would have to sit
out the season due to his fight with an extremely rare blood disease
that will require a bone marrow transplant (see related story page 15).
Lukas and his story became the ultimate motivation for the state title,
and it gave the players a chance to think about their goal as something
far greater than just themselves.
Though no player is replaceable, new players assumed bigger roles
and filled in the missing holes extremely well. The only two hiccups
along the way were a last-second tie to Mountain Vista and an ugly tie
against Littleton in October. Other than those two games, the Jags
managed to only give up 13 goals on the season, and managed to not lose a
single game. This achievement gave them the best league record in
school history and their first ever Continental League Championship.
Under the leadership of Coach Sean Henning, Captains Jake Battock,
Kyle Rimer, Josh Kracke, and Ben Bartlett – along with the rest of the
seniors – shared equal responsibility in leading the team to the final
game of the season. “It was a fantastic way to end my soccer career at
Rock Canyon regardless of the final result,” Captain Jake Battock said.
“I’m extremely proud of my team and what we were able to accomplish
this year. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of guys.”
Sure they had been handed a loss in the state championship, but it
came in double overtime of an extremely equal game. The timing may not
have been impeccable for a first loss, but it was the only loss of the
entire season, and that is almost impossible to do in 5A soccer.
Senior Captain Kyle Rimer said, “We fought and played our hearts
out all season long. I couldn’t have had any better teammates and
friends on the field with me. The most important thing was coming
together to achieve a common goal and creating lifelong friendships.”