Golden storms back to win first boys lacrosse state title

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DENVER — Senior Joe Brock scored the most significant goal in Golden’s boys lacrosse history Monday, May 20, at All-City Stadium.

Brock’s laser shot two minutes into overtime of the Class 4A boys lacrosse state championship game just made it under the crossbar despite the effort of Cheyenne Mountain goalie Liam Hybl.

“This was unbelievable,” Brock said after his three-goal and one-assist performance in the title game. “Coming in as a No. 7 seed, we beat one, two and three (seeds). I can’t describe this feeling. It’s incredible. We worked our butts off for this.”

The goal sent the entire Demon squad in a frenzy racing toward the Golden crowd in the northwest corner of the stands after a dramatic 10-9 overtime victory on a cold and wet night in Denver.

“When we went to overtime I told the guys on the bench that we were due because we had two overtime losses this year,” Golden coach Mike Thumim said. “We were due on our side and sure enough … I didn’t even see Joe’s ball go in. I just saw the guys reaction and I lost my mind.”

The goal capped off an amazing rally from the Demons (13-6 record), who trailed 7-2 late in the second quarter.

Top-seed Cheyenne Mountain (16-3) looked in control at halftime, but Golden slowly chipped away. Eventually with 1:05 to play in regulation, they tied the game 9-9 with the defending champions. It was a goal from Brock that tied the game.

“All four years this has been the moment we’ve been looking for,” Brock said. “We came together knowing we had a young team and we were the underdog. It feels amazing.”

Cheyenne Mountain scored five unanswered goals from late in the first quarter until the final seconds before halftime. Golden sophomore Ben Kirschner ended the run with a goal 16 second before halftime. The goal seemed to give the Demons a much-needed lift trimming the deficit to 7-3.

“I just came into this team with the mindset that I was going to get a few goals,” Kirschner said. “I capitalized on my moments and put the ball into the back of the net.”

Golden came out firing in the third quarter, with Kirschner scoring 2:27 into the frame, only to see Cheyenne Mountain answer six seconds later.

However, Golden kept coming. The Demons scored the final two goals of the third quarter, making it 8-6, and then Brady desGarennes scored with 6:59 to go in regulation to cut the Indians’ lead to one.

Cheyenne Mountain’s James LaCerte put his team up 9-7 two minutes later. Again, Golden wouldn’t go away. Broderick Calley got his team within one with 2:50 to play off an assist from Brock, and then Brock’s first heroic shot with 1:05 left tied the game up. It was the first overtime game in a boys lacrosse championship game since 2000.

“There are no words right now. I’m so proud of the team. I’m so proud of the guys. We knew going in that we had this ability all year,” said Thumim, who is in his second stint leading Golden’s boys lacrosse program. “It was frustrating amid that five-game losing streak. Something just clicked and they have been playing just lights out the last three weeks. That is when you want to do it.”

This season completed the circle for Thumim. The first go-around coaching Golden’s boys program before leaving to coach at Dakota Ridge, Thumim guided the Demons to the 2005 semifinals when boys lacrosse was still unclassified.

Cherry Creek ended Golden’s deepest playoff run 14 years ago with a close 9-8 victory for the Bruins, who went on to win the state title.

Thumim, who also teaches at Golden, returned to coaching the Demons in 2017. Over the last three seasons Golden has a 37-16 record, including back-to-back deep playoff runs. Golden advanced to the 2018 semifinals before losing to Dawson and now have the school’s first boys lacrosse state title.

“I love my school. I love my boys. I love the community,” Thumim said. “To have the hard work pay off with a state championship, the school deserves it. I love being a Demon.”

Golden graduates nearly 10 seniors, but should be right back in the mix with the likes of starting goalie Kyle desGarennes, Carson Brzeczek, Kevin Mulligan, Garrett Landmark and others returning.

“We’ll be back next year for sure,” Kirschner said.

Dennis Pleuss is a communications specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a focus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go online at CHSAANow.com/Jeffco.

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