Warriors lead area 2A wrestling teams
QUEEN CREEK - While every team has the goal of winning a state championship, the Yuma Catholic boys soccer team had a more specific goal and it had to be done now.
"When we started this program four years ago, we said that every kid that comes through the program has to win a state championship before they graduate," Shamrocks coach Anthony Ordaz Sr. said after his team defeated Chandler-Seton Catholic 2-0 in the 1A-3A state title game.
"And this was the last chance for these seniors, and we got it done."
The 13 seniors that ended their high school careers on the Canyon State Academy field had been playing together for four years, and in some case for 14 or 15 years, but had only made it as far as the last season's semifinals.
"I've been playing with or against most of these guys since I was 5- or 6-years old," senior goalie Michael Cooley said. "We're such a tight-knit group of guys that we're like a family. We even fight like a family, like we're brothers."
The chemistry the Shamrocks (23-1-3) built gave them an obvious advantage over Seton (15-5-1), which had just four senior starters to the Shamrocks' eight.
"They're a very good team and I take nothing away from them, but they're more experienced than we are," Seton coach Pete Redlich said. "Experience counts a lot and there's nothing to make up for (a lack of) experience."
It's only fitting then that the seniors dominated Saturday's contents. Senior Jesus Griego scored the game's only two goals and the Yuma Catholic defense - led by four seniors - shut out its opponent for the second time in the state tournament and 16th overall.
"Chemistry comes from within. It can't be coached," Ordaz said. "I always tell the team to play with a purpose and as long as we're playing with the same purpose everyone believes in each other."
It's that belief and trust in one another that helped propel the Shamrocks to fulfill Ordaz's goal.
"I'm a senior and a state champion. What else can I ask for?" Griego begged.