During the final seconds of Colorado Springs Christian School’s 6-1 soccer mauling of Dawson, the mood on the CSCS bench was filled with optimism.
The Lions, after Tuesday's win in the regional final, were headed to the final eight of the 3A state tournament.
Coach Jason Rollins turned to one of his stars, junior midfielder Lookens Smith. Lookens is the big brother of freshman Kinsley Smith. The brother duo has terrified opposing teams with goals all season.
“Did you guys score today?” Rollins asked Lookens.
“No,” Lookens said, smiling.
Rollins shook his head.
“What’s wrong with you guys?” Rollins asked.
He was kidding, of course. Coming into the game, the Smith brothers had combined for 49 of CSCS’ 95 goals. One of the brothers had scored in every game this season, Rollins said, and two of the brothers had scored in almost every game.
It says encouraging things for the Lions' future that they romped without the Smith brothers dominating. Dawson’s defensive strategy was easy to decipher. The Mustangs surrounded the Smiths and dared the other Lions to beat them.
The Lions won the dare. Noah Banderas, Ethan Campagna, Tanner MacKay, Caleb Wallis, Michael Benthem and Sean Capps all scored for the Lions. Kinsley Smith added an assist, his 17th of the season.
“It says we can all work off each other,” MacKay said of the diverse scoring. “It doesn’t just have to be them. It can be anyone who is there at the right place at the right time.”
Rollins could tell how Dawson planned to defend, and he hoped his players would respond.
"They (the Smiths) are the guys who create things on offense,” Rollins said. “Even when they don’t score, they’re always making things happen.
“Here’s the thing about our team. We’ve got guys who can score, at any time and from any place. It’s good to see. I want other guys to get that confidence.”
CSCS improves to 15-2. The Lions will play at home against Delta on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. Dawson ends its season at 11-4-2.