By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore– In a weekend that featured overtimes and penalty kicks across the 4A and 3A/2A/1A landscape, the 3A/2A/1A Boys Soccer State Championship lived up to that standard in more ways than following suit to the norm of the day.
It was the trilogy between Western Christian/Amity and Dayton. Saturday night under the lights.
Weird to think by game’s end that the Pioneers had five goals after the Pirates had held Western Christian/Amity scoreless in the first half. Strangely as well, the Pios gave up three goals in the 100 minutes played, matching their regular season goal allowed total going into Overtime.
It was really nothing different that Dayton did. They were aggressive, they were physical and stayed focused on the task at hand with Daniel Anguiano handing back the Pirates the 2-1 lead in the 61st minute.
“We just kept it the same. We did our usual thing, we focused on what we were strong on and we just studied them. We locked up their opportunities on scoring. We did that the first half, second half we did that as well…we just had two unlucky goals,” said Anguiano.
As the game trickled into the single-digits though, the game was getting to it’s breaking point to relieve the tension built to this point. And it erupted coming to the end of regulation. Both teams scrapped, clawed and battled in the process.
Landon Moore tied it up at two in the 72nd minute off his second PK opportunity of the game, Moore made the first one. The Pioneers took their first lead of the game in the 78th off a bicycle kick by Declan Wark. Wark had finished 12th in the 2A/1A State Cross Country meet in Lebanon earlier Saturday that had seemingly put the game away in favor of Western Christian/Amity.
“Going down one at the beginning, that was scary. (Dayton) came out ready to play, I’ll give them credit, they came out ready to play,” said the Pios Jacky Choi. “But once we got our first goal, we were ready to go. We just picked it up from there.”
Benji Hudson however, said ‘not so fast’ with a kick from the grandstand side of the box, nailing it in the back corner to tie things up a few seconds later. Saving Dayton’s season and extending the game into the two-overtime periods.
“I had a lot of adrenaline. I did everything that I could, we did everything we could,” said Anguiano. “I’m really proud (of us) making it to State. They did the same. We were looking forward to winning but they took the win. We’re going to be mad and we’re going to do everything to hopefully take it all and come to State again.”
Western Christian has shown time-in and time-out this season that once they scored, they’ll just build straight from that. Moore’s first goal in the 50th minute settled the nerves, his second plus Wark’s goal got the snowball effect going into the second half.
Choi scored barely thirty seconds into the first ten-minute overtime period. Challenging the Pirates to respond, they had a chance or two but no luck. Darrin Campbell added the backbreaker later on with the Pioneers completing the perfect 13-0 season and bringing home the State Title to close out the Culmination Week.
“I can’t even describe how this feels, it’s been four years in the making,” starts a teary-eyed Choi. “I’ve wanted this since freshman year and my guys have wanted this for the longest time. We definitely let everyone know that we’re a team to be reckoned with. We came out ready to play this year and we showed everyone how it’s done.”
Dayton finished their State Runner-Up appearance 9-4.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald