Huizar's goal lifts Kings over Raiders
Cibola striker Francisco Urenda received a pass from his twin brother Enrique up the middle of the field. The Kofa home crowd gasped as Francisco pushed the threshold of off sides and snuck a grounder past the Kings goalkeeper Assante Nicewander to tie the game at 1-1 with only eight minutes left.
Kofa had not lost a game at home during the regular season for three years, and after staring a draw in the face for four minutes, Kings striker Kevin Huizar sent a sniper shot off his left foot, picking off the upper-left corner of the net to deflate the Raiders momentum and defeat them 2-1.
Cibola is 1-3 on the season with all three losses coming by a single goal.
“I'm really proud of the guys, they're giving a great effort every game,” said Cibola head coach Mike Fritz. “Every practice they're showing up and working hard. We just need to keep with those things and the process will work for us down the road.”
Both defenses played well Thursday, not allowing many chances. When there were shots, both goalkeepers stood their ground.
“Carlos (Raygoza) is fantastic, he's a great keeper,” Fritz said. “He's athletic, we're really happy to have him on our team.”
The first of Kofa's two goals came off a penalty kick which was called for a Cibola handball in the penalty box. Kings midfielder Jesus Felix took the penalty kick and knocked it off the left post. Fortunately for him, a Raider player had jumped over the line which gave Felix a second chance that he buried to go up 1-0.
After the game, Kofa head coach Jamie Nicewander wasn't as pleased as a winning coach normally would be.
“Cibola's a team that's really competitive of course, but we started playing down,” Jamie Nicewander said. “We were just dumping the ball when we shouldn't have. It's what happens. You're nervous, playing in front of your home crowd, first home game of the season. They know they have to live up to it, they won't let a loss on their home field.”
For Huizar, who had scored five goals against Kingman earlier this season, knew his team did just enough to win.
“We didn't play that good, we can do better,” he said. “They play kickball, and we played the same as them, so we need to work on that.”
As for the streak, Huizar and his teammates are relieved to keep it going.
“It's very important for me and for everybody because we haven't lost in three years here,” Huizar said. “It's the pride.”
Kofa's record improves to 3-0 on the season and despite the inconsistencies on the field, the ability to stay in the game mentally impressed Jamie Nicewander.
“The guys showed a lot of toughness today,” he said. “They scored a goal, didn't get caught up in a quagmire on the field. They played through it and answered back. That showed a different level for them and I'm proud of them for that. That shows a mental toughness. Instead of giving up a game, they came back and won the game. That's a characteristic of the team. It's important for their development as young men also. They won the game in tough conditions.”
Both teams play next Tuesday with Kofa traveling up to Lake Havasu and Cibola hosting Yuma High.