Cheyenne Mountain boys' lacrosse wins first state title with comeback against Dawson

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Photo - Cheyenne Mountain coach Mike Paige jumps into the arms of defender Ben Sceats as the Indians celebrate the school’s first championship in lacrosse after defeating Dawson 8-6 Friday, May 18, 2018, in the 4A Colorado State championship game at Mile High Stadium in Denver. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Cheyenne Mountain coach Mike Paige jumps into the arms of defender Ben Sceats as the Indians celebrate the school’s first championship in lacrosse after defeating Dawson 8-6 Friday, May 18, 2018, in the 4A Colorado State championship game at Mile High Stadium in Denver. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

DENVER • This was a story made for Hollywood.

August Johnson, arguably the top player for the Cheyenne Mountain boys' lacrosse team, suffered a concussion more than a month ago. This didn't mean the Indians' season was over.

They kept surging and surging, while Johnson patiently recovered.

Then, on Friday, the Air Force Academy recruit was cleared to play again. And he wrapped up his high school career in heroic style, scoring two goals -- including the game-winner -- to lift the No. 7 Indians to an 8-6 win over No. 1 The Dawson School in the Class 4A championship at Mile High Stadium.

It is the Indians' first state title after failing to advance past the semifinals in the three previous seasons.

"This is a movie-style ending," Johnson said.

He suffered a concussion in an eventual 13-12 loss to Thompson Valley on April 9, leaving the Indians without one of their most prolific scorers for the next 10 games. But Cheyenne Mountain went 8-2 in that stretch, beating No. 10 Littleton, No. 2 Thompson Valley and No. 6 Aspen in the playoffs to advance to the title game.

The Indians (15-4) were down 2-0 before Friday's game was delayed after the first period for about 30 minutes because of a severe lightning warning. During this time, senior Jack Egan said he and his teammates regrouped and got rid of some jitters.

Nonetheless, Dawson (17-2) expanded its advantage with another goal early in the second by Jack Shams, who led all scorers with three goals.

"We weren't too worried," Indians senior Jack Egan said. "We've come back before."

Johnson, Egan and Jack Paul each scored in the first period to cut the Mustangs' lead lead to 4-3 at halftime. Then, with about a minute left in the third, Ike Eastburn scored to tie it at 5.

Dawson got the lead back with 3:48 left in the game, but Egan scored his second goal about 10 seconds later to tie it up again.

Then, Johnson stepped up again with 3:06 left and knocked in an unassisted goal to give the Indians their first lead over Dawson (17-2).

Wiley Burkett secured the historic win with a goal with a minute left.

The teams had played on May 1, with Dawson winning 10-3.

And when they were down again to the Mustangs, the Indians never let up. While Johnson and others took care of the offensive attack, sophomore goalie Liam Hybl had a solid performance with save after save.

"They were just tenacious, they had heart," Indians coach Mike Paige said. "They brought it tonight."

And they might not have been able to do it without Johnson's comeback story.