DENVER — Right from the start, the Valor Christian boys lacrosse team left little doubt about its speed, skill and, especially, its goal-scoring ability.

The No. 3 Eagles roared to a 7-1 lead after one quarter and cruised the rest of the way against top-seeded Arapahoe to win 22-6, claiming the Class 5A state championship.

The victory was record-setting in multiple ways. It is the largest championship differential, breaking the mark set when Wheat Ridge beat Air Academy 14-2 in 2013. The most goals in a championship was set by Valor in 2017 when they beat the Dawson School 20-12.

Eagles coach Jeremy Noble said the historic night was spurred on by disrespect in the seedings.

“It’s what we’ve done to pretty much every team we’ve played this year in Colorado,” Noble said. “We felt disrespected being the third seed where no one was close in games in Colorado this year. There was a lot of motivation for them and they put the team before themselves. They celebrated their teammates’ success above their own. They’ve worked harder than any team I’ve ever seen and they had fun while they did it.”

The Eagles certainly had fun on the offensive end.

Freshman James Riches struck first on a deep shot from the left side, then Geordy Reider scored the lacrosse equivalent of an alley-oop after leaving his feet on a shot goal. He followed that with another goal before Arapahoe got on the board with Nicholas Parker tagging a wide-open net.

The excitement from Warriors’ fans was short-lived, as Rush LaSalle notched one for Valor less than 60 seconds later. Freshman JT Cross netted another, then Baden Brown got rolling with a no-look goal near the crease. The Valor senior, signed with Division III powerhouse Tufts, added another with 25.1 left in the first.

Cross flung a ball through the goalie’s five-hole to kick off the second quarter, then Reider scored on a bounce shot less than 30 seconds later.

Brody Nelson momentarily stopped the Valor Christian flurry with two goals, but Harry Luong cut short the excitement of Warriors’ fans by chopping in a goal less than six seconds after the face-off. Aston Hutter scored a long-stick goal to put the Eagles up 11-3 at half.

Brown struck first with 9:26 left in the third to reach a hat trick, then added a lightning bolt far from the crease for another goal on the ensuing possession. Reider got a hat trick of his own by slashing into the crease and, after an Arapahoe goal, Rush LaSelle got in on the action with a tally deep from the left side. Reider added his fourth during a man-up situation, then Brown scored on a series where five different Valor players connected on five passes to make it 17-4. Brown scored again, Arapahoe scored twice, then Liam Goodwin killed that run with his first marker of the game. Riches let rip from deep to tie the record for most goals in a championship game, then Goodwin broke it a couple minutes later. Brown added the icing on the cake, scoring his seventh goal, dodging twice behind the net and flicking in an easy goal.

“We play a fast-paced game,” Brown said. “We play at our own pace, move the ball and that’s worked in our favor a lot this season. We always focus on the next play because we know there will be a lot of highs and lows with the game.
“We just stick to what we do,” Brown added with a smile and laugh. “And put up numbers like 22.”