It was exactly the kind of match you would expect with a region championship on the line.
In the end, Sky View’s boys soccer team did what it took to capture its first region title since 2015.
The Bobcats took a 1-0 lead into the half and found a good enough balance between attacking and defending resolutely to earn a 1-1 draw against Logan in a hard-fought, intense game on Friday night at Crimson Field.
“After everything that we’ve worked for, this means everything,” SV standout midfielder Ty Erickson said. “From the start of our high school careers, this is what we’ve dreamed of, so to finally get it, this is everything. There’s no words that can describe how this feels right now.”
In the process, the Bobcats (8-2-4, 7-1-2) extended their unbeaten streak to eight consecutive matches and became the only Region 12 side to not lose to the Grizzlies (8-3-2, 7-2-1) this season. Logan would have repeated as region champs had it prevailed Friday.
The rematch was much different than Sky View’s 5-4 triumph over Logan on April 9 in Smithfield, but arguably as wild — one with plenty of drama and big plays by both sides.
“The boys and I, we both know that we wanted this game more than anything,” SV head coach Jorge Cruz said. “This game was like our final game of the World Cup. And we know that we’ve been playing OK, maybe not playing a beautiful game, but we know that it’s been working for us and we’re going to continue playing like that until something else (persuades) us to do different.”
Sky View has excelled all season long at utilizing star striker Jonathan Bergeson’s speed and tenacity on lengthy passes into the 18-yard box, and Friday was no different. The senior was somehow able to sneak around a well-positioned Grizzly defender on a Kai Schwartz pass in the 36th minute and finish into an open net for his 16th goal of the season.
The Bobcats set the tone well before their goal with a few inviting over-the-top balls and well-weighted through balls to Bergeson in dangerous spots.
“I feel like it showed that we weren’t going to sit back and let them come at us,” Erickson said. “It showed that we were going to go at them, that we were going for (a) region (title) just as much as they were.”
The Grizzlies struggled to put their limited shots on frame in the first half, but came out very strong and determined after the break. Logan forced Sky View goalkeeper Mailik Horman to make seven saves from the second half on, including a fairly difficult diving effort on a strike by Fernando Chavez from distance.
“I was really proud of the boys today,” LHS head coach Natalie Norris said. “They came out and played well. We didn’t play our game necessarily, but we battled the entire 100 minutes. And I can’t ask for much more than that, except for, obviously, more goals in the back of the net.”
Logan’s relentless pressure paid off with about 17 minutes remaining in regulation when Ethan McAllister whipped in a back-post corner kick to center back Abel Tlatelpa, who headed it just inside the post.
“It was beautiful,” Norris said. “It’s about time we got a good corner kick goal. I thought we actually had a lot of good opportunities in the run of play as well, but just couldn’t put one away. And so I was glad we were able to put one away on a set piece.”
Despite having to defend a lot in the second half, the Bobcats still managed to be plenty dangerous, especially in transition. Bergeson had two really good scoring chances in the half, including one that was saved at the near post by Logan defender Liam Weed.
Sky View nearly won the match in the first overtime session, thanks to a beautiful through ball by Erickson and ultimately resulted in at least three Bobcat shots in succession inside the 6-yard box. At the end of that sequence, a Logan player was whistled for a handball, giving the visitors a penalty kick.
Fortunately for the Grizzlies, keeper Dylan Long gave his team new hope by sprawling to his left and blocking Bergeson’s kick from the penalty spot. Long also made a crucial diving save on a shot by Sky View’s Hunter Smith in the first half.
“With how much we’ve practiced PKs and how much I miss, it feels really good to block one for once,” Long said. “All season I haven’t really done much to keep our team in the game, I feel, and so knowing that I’m a big factor in just giving us a chance (in this match) was huge. It felt really good.”
Logan’s best opportunity for a golden goal in overtime came on a 25-yard effort by McAllister that flew over the crossbar by a matter of inches. Indeed, it was another rock solid effort from Sky View’s backline.
“My defense has been playing tremendously,” Cruz said. “I mean, I have two freshman (Davis Hall and Jackson Sundstrom) that I’ve been playing an average of 60 percent of the game, and the way that they’ve been stepping up has been amazing. ... The backline has been so disciplined, playing the way we want to play, organizing, communicating and the chemistry within the backline has been great.”
Prior to the match, the Grizzlies honored a large senior class consisting of Tlatelpa, Weed, Josue Mora, Victor Ceron, Kaemon Anderson, Dylan McCuskey, Bennett Browning, McAllister, Miguel Martinez, Rogelio Gonzales, Jose Mendiola and Jonathan Coffin. Logan’s entire starting lineup was comprised of seniors.
WOLVES 4, RIVERHAWKS 0
Green Canyon (6-6-1, 4-5-1) claimed the region’s fourth and final playoff spot by putting together a clutch performance on Senior Night. Ridgeline (6-7-2, 3-6-1) would have advanced to the postseason with a win or draw.
Alex Arias and Hunter Holt scored in the first half for the Wolves, while Kyle Waldron and Landen Winder found the back of the net after the break. Baldo Chavez, who fired a shot off the crossbar, was credited with an assist for Green Canyon, as was Eli Huber.
This will be the Wolves’ first appearance in the playoffs.
“We are playing as a team, attacking with pace and dynamism,” said GC head coach Sven Rasmussen, who praised the effort of defender Nikk Perkes. “Complete game (for us). Best the boys have played. It’s all coming together. So proud of my guys.”
Jacob Von Niederhausern was in goal for Green Canyon’s fifth shutout of the season. It was the final home match for GC seniors Camren Christensen, Waldron and Winder.
“We are very proud of every player this year for their work and dedication to learning and improving individually and as a team,” said RHS head coach Dale Buchanan, whose team made big strides this spring. “Our 11 seniors have helped to build our program and will leave that legacy for the returning players.”
BEARS 2, MUSTANGS 1
Mountain Crest (8-8-1, 5-5-0) took a 1-0 lead on the road against Bear River, but struggled a bit after a lightning delay at the beginning of the second half.
The Bears (5-9-1, 1-8-1) scored twice after halftime — the game-winner being a 40-yard shot by Ramon Windmiller that Mustang keeper Jaydn McBride had covered, but “when it bounced in front of him, it took the craziest bounce straight up and blew into the net over him,” MC head coach Mike Gurney said.
Jackson Clark netted the Mustangs’ goal in the 24th minute.
“(Bear River) took chances in the second half and we were complacent with a one-goal lead, instead of trying to finish it off,” Gurney said. “That was the difference in the game.”
The first round of the 4A playoffs will take place next Wednesday. Sky View will host Spanish Fork (11-5-0, 7-5-0 Region 10), while Logan will welcome Orem (11-4-1, 8-3-0) or Salem Hills (11-4-2, 9-3-0) to Crimson Field.
Meanwhile, Mountain Crest will travel to Salem Hills or Orem, while Green Canyon squares off against Region 10 champion Mountain View (10-3-0, 10-1-0) on the road.