Boys soccer earns historic Valley Championship


Photo by. Jazmine Contreras

Senior striker Thomas Laxon puts a move on his defender to get past him.

John- Gavin Mancha , Staff Writer

The Central boy’s varsity soccer team came into the season underrated but overcame all previous estimations and won the Valley Championship title through sheer skill and determination.

The boy’s soccer team has never won a Valley title before. They had earned solid respect in previous years but came up short in the semi-final game during playoffs.

The main motivation of this team is the brotherhood”

— Thomas Laxon

Central started out hot and had key wins in the preseason including high-level tournaments. When they went into the Tri-River Athletic Conference play, they didn’t slow down. They continued to dominate, winning every two-game series even against heavily ranked opponent Clovis North who placed second in league play.

The game changer for this year’s team seemed to be their comradery. Senior striker Thomas Laxon explains, “The main motivation of this team is the brotherhood, and the unfinished business we have had over the past couple years.” With this motivation in the mind of each player, they charged into the playoffs.

The first game of the CIF Central Section Playoffs was against Sunnyside High School. The Grizzlies surged past the Wildcats with a 3-1 victory. Arroyo Grande was the next competitor and they were no pushover. The Grizzlies battled in a back and forth match that resulted in a 4-3 win in favor of the Grizzlies. Two down two to go. With a major upset in the  South High School vs. San Luis Obispo game, the Grizzlies managed to find home field advantage for the third game of playoffs based on their ranking.

Head Coach Raul Martin says, “The greatest factor in our team’s success has been our team play. We play for each other, and remember, ‘Team Above Self ‘” That showed in the game against South High School. The fans knew that eighty minutes wouldn’t be enough to settle the final score between the two schools. It ended in overtime with a corner kick by Eddie Munoz to freshman Alan Gutierrez for the finish.

With the Valley Championship in sight, the boys waited to see who they would play. With another upset, the boys regained home-field advantage against Ridgeview High School.

February 22nd, 2019 was the date and the stage was set to make history. It started as a defensive battle as both teams fought for possession over the ball. At halftime, it was tied 0-0.

At the end of the second half it was tied 1-1 which headed into overtime. Both teams added another goal in overtime but the deciding factor came down to the last minute, and a freekick by Isreal Cano to a header by  Kaylob Walker, giving the Grizzlies their first Valley Championship.