Immediately after a cold, long and superb soccer match, Colorado Springs Christian coach Jason Rollins and Atlas Prep coach Teo Jackson met to talk about their 1-1 tie and their hoped-for future.
Both agreed it would be fun, and challenging, to meet again this season, deep in the 3A state playoffs.
Atlas Prep (11-0-1), the state’s No. 1 ranked team, showed the talent that rapidly lifted it to elite 3A status. Atlas has fielded a varsity team for only three seasons.
Colorado Springs Christian (6-4-2) showed it could be ready to climb out of slump that began Sept. 15 when Kensley Smith suffered an injured wrist. Smith scored eight goals in the Lions’ first four games and might return next week.
In the waning minutes of the first half, Atlas midfielder Lamario Nisbeth sent a soaring 30-yard kick over the head of CSCS goalkeeper Josh Erickson, who delivered an otherwise flawless game.
The goal almost stood up.
With 4:15 left, CSCS star Lookens Smith broke loose and Atlas goalkeeper Jonathan Juanico rushed out to meet him. Lookens Smith, dribbling to his left, used the back of his right foot to nudge the game-tying goal to the far post.
“I toe poked it,” Smith said. “I saw the corner and I just tapped it in there.”
In overtime, Nisbeth and Lookens Smith almost delivered victory.
In the opening moments of the first overtime, Smith broke loose again and had a clear shot on goal. Juanico again rushed out, and Smith tried to lift a shot over the goalkeeper’s arms. Juanico slapped the ball away, rescuing the tie.
“Any time Smith gets the ball, I think we’re doomed,” the coach said. “He’s a fantastic player with amazing ball movement and amazing body movement .”
With 2:45 left in the second overtime, Nisbeth used impressive dribbling to elude two defenders and sent a rocket toward the far post. For an instant, it looked as if Atlas would soar to 12-0 . But Erickson made a lunging save.
“I thought I had that one, 100 percent,” Nisbeth said . “But the goalie was good.”