COLORADO SPRINGS – Throughout the Class 5A state soccer playoffs this year, fans across Colorado have experienced no shortage of drama. That meant the state championship on Saturday night at Weidner Field, naturally, would go to penalty kicks.

Following four and half rounds of PKs, each one of which No. 7 Broomfield connected on, the Eagles were crowned the 5A state champions. Junior keeper Evan Kulstad came in clutch when it mattered most after seeing very few touches in the 110 minutes that preceded the high-stakes shootout.

He stopped No. 4 Denver East’s first PK attempt, but very nearly relinquished that goal when the ball slowly rolled back toward the goal line. The side post mercifully stopped and redirected it before it could cross it.

When he stopped the Angels’ fifth attempt, his teammates and coaches flew onto the field to celebrate near the goal post together.

“It’s surreal, and I love it,” Kulstad said. “I’m going to love this every single moment. This is the thing that I’m going to tell everyone that I meet. I’m over the moon right now.”

The contest maintained a high level of excitement from start to finish, but began its stride toward the finale in the 58th minute. After Broomfield sophomore Max Marchi ricocheted the ball off of a Denver East’s player’s head, senior Marcus Von wound up, his back to the goal, and bicycle kicked it right past the Angels’ keeper.

“Before every single game, I pray and I say, ‘God if it be your will, help us to win,’” Von said. “‘If it be your will, let me score.’ To let me score a goal like that, it’s incredible.”

The euphoria — and collective shock in the stadium — was short-lived.

Two minutes later, the officials awarded Denver East a free kick just outside of the box, and Theo Scott connected to level the playing field once again. The two teams maintained that status quo until the 105th minute — in the second overtime — when Denver East was called for a penalty in its own goal box.

Von stepped up to take the shot, but clanked the ball off of the crossbar before it bounced back out toward the rest of the players. Broomfield head coach Zach Hindman said he had never seen him miss a PK “in my life.”

Kulstad answered the rest of the prayer after the two overtimes expired. The Eagles secured their ninth state title in school history, and the first under a man not named Jim Davidson.

And they did it by playing four straight playoff contests that couldn’t be decided in regulation.

“We stood on the shoulders of giants and I think the guys dug in and decided that they were going to embrace that. They did it, and they dug deep through adversity again,” Hindman said. “To miss that PK was very difficult. To give up a goal immediately after the best goal I’ve ever seen in a high school soccer game was difficult, and they just kept responding. That’s what this team is all about, and I’m so proud of them. They’re just unshakable.”