From the sound of it, The Classical Academy's Titus Grant used to be a bit of a ball hog.
"He just wasn't as generous, that's for sure," said Jaden Borja, the Titans' second-leading scorer this season.
And why not? Since joining the team in 2013, Grant has scored 82 goals.
"I think freshman and sophomore year I was less of a team contributor," Grant said. "I was scoring a lot of goals, but this season I tried to be a little less selfish. If I give (teammates) the ball, they try harder to get me the ball."
Dishing it out clearly agrees with him. Last week, the National Soccer Coaches Association of America announced Grant was one of 56 boys' soccer All-Americans, and two from Colorado. In addition, he was named to the Colorado High School Soccer Coaches Association Class 4A all-state first team and the 4A player of the year.
Coach Blake Galvin called Grant's 2015 season "pretty ridiculous."
"He really turned a corner this year," Galvin said. "I would say he became more of a complete player. He led the team in not only goals but assists, where previously he was really a goal scorer."
Grant, The Gazette Boys' Soccer Peak Performer of the Year, still matched last year's output with 29 goals in 19 games, good for third in the state and a tie for first in 4A. He added 14 assists.
But two yellow cards in the state semifinals meant a suspended Grant had to watch helplessly on the sidelines during the championship game as the Titans lost 1-0 to Evergreen, their fifth fruitless state finals appearance in six seasons.
"I think it was hard on him," Galvin said. "There were several times where I had to try to calm him down and get him back toward the bench."
According to his Borja, things might have worked out differently if Grant was in uniform.
"I think we would have won if we'd had him. But I guess we'll never know," Borja said.
Naturally, getting so far, so frequently without a first-place trophy to show for it is wearing on the Titans.
"It's tough. There have been some games where the reality is, we weren't the better team. But there were a few where we felt like we were the better team," Galvin said.
"We don't have an explanation. It's hard to know what to say to the guys other than, 'Let's do what we can and get back here next year.'"
Next year, Grant wants to become even more of a complete player and work with the incoming freshmen.
He and his eight fellow returning seniors will do "whatever we can" to finally win that last game.
"Going to the state game, it's nothing to put your head down about," Grant said.
"But especially for me, getting second is a little frustrating."