Columbine coach Brian Todd has been around soccer long enough to appreciate the bigger picture.
So when the 22nd-seeded Rebels saw their season come to a rude end Oct. 31 in a 4-0 loss to No. 11 Arapahoe, Todd and many of the players took comfort knowing they had experienced something that will only make a young team better.
The Rebels took one on the chin, but now they at least know what kind of punch they must develop a year from now.
“We definitely quit, so to speak,” Todd said. “We were pretty flat for who we are.”
The Rebels gave up two goals on either side of halftime in their first round contest at Littleton Public Schools Stadium. After a great save denied sophomore Luke Shepstone from tying the game 1-1, the Rebels (9-5-2) were overwhelmed by the Warriors (10-2-4), who spent the second half trying to score with a mixture of persistence and panache.
Spencer Rogl, Seth Donegan, David Hewitt and Adam Tormoehlen each scored for the Warriors, while Tormoehlen added two assists. The senior midfielder’s goal, which made it 4-0 in the 60th minute, was a fitting highlight for a morning when the Rebels’ usual tenacity and skill was outdone by sheer will.
Tormoehlen was charging on the ball and a Columbine defender went to clear it. But the ball struck him on the forehead and he streaked past the defender with the ball at his feet and cut a shot with his left foot across the penalty area and inside the far post.
The Warriors would have made it a five-star victory two minutes later had it not been for a great play by defender Peter Schichtel to clear the ball off the line and avoid crashing into the post.
“We’ve got an excited young group of kids,” Todd said.
The sophomore-loaded Rebels will lose seniors Steven Simpson, Daniel Clark, Luke Abel and Cisco Herrera for next year. They do return their starting goalkeeper in Zach Robertson, as well as leading scorers Matt Marchena and Shepstone for a team that finished fourth this season in the Jefferson County League.