Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
North Medford senior Garrett Byrd got a dose of inspiration from his head coach during a break on a sweltering day at Hoffbuhr Field, then went out and helped save the day for the Black Tornado boys soccer team on Tuesday.
Byrd, one of North Medford's captains, came off the pitch for a quick drink of water with his team trailing 1-0 to Sheldon, and head coach Michael Belzberg quickly got in his ear.
"I just told him to get in there and just pull the trigger and put it on frame," said Belzberg, noting there was nothing new about the strategy, but two minutes later it paid off.
Once Byrd got back on the pitch with 15 minutes to play, he fired a shot from 30 yards out that was hit with enough pace that it ricocheted off an Irish defender and caught the goalkeeper leaning the wrong way as it sailed into the net.
Sheldon's Taylor Lauck opened the scoring with 25 minutes to play on a nice free kick that just eluded the effort of North goalkeeper Eric Benitez.
Belzberg said his count had the Tornado (1-0-2) with a 15-3 edge in shots on goal.
"We were taking a lot of shots and playing great soccer," said the coach, "but we just weren't putting it into the net."
KLAMATH UNION 6, CRATER 2 — At Central Point, Mason Crawford had two goals and an assist for Klamath Union in nonleague action.
Jose Meza added three assists for the Pelicans (1-1), who led 4-0 at halftime.
Cyrus Irigoyen and Josiah Quijano scored second-half goals for Crater (0-2).
GRANTS PASS 2, BEND 2 — At Grants Pass, Grants Pass recovered from a two-goal deficit to earn the nonleague draw.
Bend (0-1-2) scored in the 13th and 31st minutes and led 2-0 at halftime.
Trenton Anderson led the comeback with a goal on a penalty kick in the 63rd minute and then assisted on the tying goal in the 73rd minute. Anderson had a free kick and Duncan Fuller put it home.
Grants Pass (0-1-3) allowed just one shot in the second half.
EAGLE POINT 4, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 0 — Four players scored as Eagle Point won the nonconference game at U.S. Cellular.
Eddy Perez-Rivera finished off the scoring with an impressive shot into the upper left part of the net in the 68th minute. It came two minutes after Kevin Van Dyke tallied.
Caleb Strong (32nd minute) and Brock Wilson (45th minute) also scored, and Gerado Lopez assisted on two goals for the Eagles (2-0-1).
ST. MARY'S 1, HIDDEN VALLEY 1 — At Murphy, Tracy Salgado's goal gave Class 3A St. Mary's the lead before 4A Hidden Valley answered early in the second half of nonleague action.
Salgado sent in a point-blank follow-up attempt in the 38th minute. The Mustangs responded with a successful header by Frank Ramirez early in the second half. Zach Perrin had the assist.
The Crusaders (1-1-1) outshot Hidden Valley (2-0) 7-1 in the second half.
NORTH VALLEY 4, ELMIRA 0 — At Merlin, freshman Nicholas Krois had a goal and three assists and Colbey Vest knocked in a pair of goals for North Valley in nonleague play.
Brandon Rodgers also scored for the Knights (1-0-1), who led 4-0 at halftime.
Asa Huber-Kantola earned the shutout in goal.
DEL NORTE 3, ILLINOIS VALLEY 0 — At Crescent City, Calif., defensive midfielder Zach Welch and left midfielder Ethan Clark both played strong for Illinois Valley (0-3) in nonleague action.