AURORA | The Class 5A postseason is ahead for the majority of the city’s boys soccer programs, as seven teams earned their way into the field of 32.
The Colorado High School Activities Association released the playoff bracket Monday and a short time later established Friday as the opening day of the tournament to be clear of the inclement weather earlier in the week.
Sixth-seeded Regis Jesuit and No. 7 Grandview were seeded among the top 16, which gives them the honor of a home game to open the postseason, while No. 20 Aurora Central, No. 21 Rangeview, No. 23 Eaglecrest, No. 25 Smoky Hill and No. 29 Gateway will play at higher-seeded opponents.
Each of the four quadrants of the postseason bracket include at least one Aurora team, while Quadrant 2 includes three of them, all district rivals from Aurora Public Schools.
Aurora Central, Rangeview and Gateway all beat each other and fought it out for top spot in the EMAC standings all the way down to the last day, when coach Dorgham Alkabi’s Trojans took the title by virtue of a 7-1 victory over Hinkley. That came a day after coach Alejandro Garcia’s Olys — who were in the driver’s seat for the league title after a win over Aurora Central — lost a one-goal game to coach Vic Strouse’s Rangeview team.
With the way the brackets ended up, Aurora Central (11-4) and Gateway (10-5) could play each other in the second round if they are able to knock off No. 13 Rocky Mountain and No. 4 Arvada West, respectively. The Trojans head to French Field in Fort Collins for a 3 p.m. Friday contest against the 9-5-1 Lobos, while the Olys trek to Golden’s North Area Athletic Complex to face the Wildcats (13-2) at 4:30 p.m.
Rangeview (11-3-1) opens at No. 12 Arapahoe, the 2018 5A state champion, and could face one of the district rivals in the quarterfinals. The Raiders — who lost to the Warriors in the postseason in 2016 — pay a 3:30 p.m. Friday visit.
Grandview — last season’s 5A runner-up — and Eaglecrest ended up in a Centennial League-heavy Quadrant 4 (which also includes second-seeded and league champion Cherry Creek) and could face either other in the second round.
Coach Brian Wood’s Wolves (10-2-3) open with a 3:30 p.m. Friday home game at Legacy Stadium against No. 26 Poudre (8-6-1), while coach Matt Best’s Raptors (9-6) travel to play Continental League runner-up and 10th-seeded Castle View (10-2-3) in a game scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Douglas County Stadium.
Regis Jesuit, which sewed up the Continental League championship with a win over Castle View, is the lone Aurora program in Quadrant 3. Coach Rick Wolf’s Raiders — whose lone loss came out of state during the Jesuit Classic — plan to play host to No. 27 Bear Creek at 4 p.m. Nov. 1.
Smoky Hill, the No. 25 seed, represents Aurora in Quadrant 1.
Coach Scott Gardner’s Buffaloes (7-7-1) — who picked up a big win over Eaglecrest in the final week of the regular season that clinched a postseason spot — visit No. 8 Fairview (12-3) at 5 p.m. Friday in the opening round.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports