Most Viewed Stories
Kings get revenge on Crims, set up likely playoff spot
After a tie with Yuma High last week and a loss to Cibola Tuesday, the Kofa boys soccer team needed a win if it was going to keep its state playoff hopes alive. Fortunately for the Kings, they did just that.
Despite some stellar defense and goal keeping from Yuma High in the first half, Kofa shut out the Criminals 3-0 Thursday on the eve of the state playoff bracket being announced.
Yuma High goalie Manuel Lizo made a half a dozen outstanding saves in the first 30 minutes, but in the 31st minute after multiple rebounds, senior Jesus Felix made a few moves and got a clear shot to put the Kings up 1-0.
“I just had to put it in,” Felix said. “I was missing a couple shots in practice, but I had to put it in the game. It was hard for me to score on him last game, but fortunately this game I scored.”
It was Felix's 12th goal on the season, tying him with Kevin Huizar, who also scored Thursday, for the team lead.
“We had a lot of faith in Felix,” said Kofa coach Jamie Nicewander. “We kept our faith in those guys, him and Kevin both. At practice I'd tell them, ‘I know you guys have it, I've seen it before, we have faith in you guys, you are going to put them away, you just have to stay focused.'”
Kofa put the game away in the 64th minute with a goal from sophomore midfielder Juan Pablo Figueroa.
“(Juan Paublo) and Kenny (Barajas) both got put up top for us,” Nicewander said. “It sounds wild, but those two sophomores were just so hungry inside that (six-yard goal box). There was a big difference between some of the other players we had, and they played well, but those two players in particular were really getting to the balls well in practice on set pieces for us. They did whatever they had to do to get that ball in the back of the net.”
According to Nicewander, Kofa out-shot Yuma High 24-3 in their last match-up.
“Our guys were really frustrated that we weren't able to put that game away like we should be able to,” Nicewander said. “I told them they're not going to get lucky a second time.”
For the Criminals, ending their season at 5-5-2 is a big step in the right direction.
“I think what the problem was that the soccer program just wasn't consistent,” said Yuma High coach Evan Chamberlain. “So you'd have a lot of these situations where academics came into play. You'd lose half the team that just didn't want to come back to a bad program. We're extremely excited and very proud of the kids for sticking with it this year, and the amount of heart you saw on and off the field changed a lot of people's perception of these players. They are the first of what I think is going to be a very successful program.”
Kofa entered the night No. 12 in the state in AIA Power Points and No. 5 in its section. The state playoff bracket will be announced today at 2 p.m.
“It's a new season,” Huizar said. “We want to leave as legends.”