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Prep Boys Soccer: Oak Hills claims third straight title
HESPERIA • The Oak Hills boys soccer team talked during Thursday’s lunch meeting about playing as a team and needing everybody to step up in some way.
Later that afternoon in a match against Hesperia, senior center midfielder Anthony Alvarez played just the first five minutes due to the flu. The Bulldogs also lost a couple of players to yellow cards, and coach Darren Goodman said he doesn’t let yellow-carded players return to a game.
Despite these setbacks, Oak Hills beat second-place Hesperia 4-0 to claim its third Mojave River League title in a row and the 90th win in the program’s history.
“These boys deserve a lot of credit,” Goodman said. “I don’t think anybody gave us any credit at the beginning of the season, and they just busted their rear ends to get the job done.”
Goodman said junior Christian Briseno played well in place of Alvarez. Briseno later moved to defender when another player received a yellow card. Forward Sage Smith returned after missing three games with a concussion to help make up for the missing players.
“We need everybody, because we’re a little banged up, tired, and they just have to get the job done,” Goodman said. “That’s exactly what they did today.”
Now Oak Hills (18-2-2, 9-0 MRL) looks to become the first MRL boys soccer team to go undefeated since the league season expanded from eight to 12 matches for the 2009-10 season.
The Bulldogs also clinched the league title in the ninth match last year, but lost their next two to drop from second to ninth in the CIF-Southern Section Division 4 rankings. They’re currently ranked second.
“If we take care of each game one at a time, everything will fall into place,” said Jose Nuno, who had a goal and an assist.
Oak Hills outshout the Scorpions 10-4. Goalkeeper Chase Gentry recorded the shutout with three saves.
“We got sucked into their kickball,” Hesperia coach Josh Grasmick said. “We get sucked into that and then we end up playing that style of ball, which isn’t our style at all. We’ve just got to stay disciplined. That’s really important, not to let their play affect us.”
The Bulldogs’ defense was keyed by sweeper Abel Arriola, who has started every game in the four-year history of the program.
“Abel Arriola has been, for my money, the best defender all year long,” Goodman said. “And anytime we got into trouble, he made a tackle, cleared a ball. Nothing gets by him, and honestly, he’s the reason we don’t give up a lot of shots.”
Nuno, who leads Oak Hills with 20 goals and has scored in nine of the last 10 matches, put the Bulldogs on the scoreboard in the 16th minute with an assist from Briseno.
Daniel Carrillo’s header found the back of the net for Oak Hills’ second goal, and Christian Rabadan assisted. Then right before halftime, the Bulldogs scored their third goal when Christian Caudle’s corner kick deflected off a Hesperia defender into the goal.
Jacob Capps finished off the scoring with a goal in the second half on Nuno’s assist.
Despite the loss, Hesperia (6-4-1 MRL) wrapped up second place when Sultana (4-5-2 MRL) tied Apple Valley on Thursday. The Scorpions were without Abraham Estrada and Cesar Luviano due to injuries, and defender Jake Ostrander played with a broken toe.
“We were hampered with injuries the whole year,” Grasmick said. “Since the first game, I don’t think we’ve had our whole team except for one game.”
C.J. Daft can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (760) 951-6275.