Unbeaten South secures SOH crown
ROSEBURG — It was one thing to win in Roseburg, something the South Medford boys soccer team hadn't done in the seven years Dave Kaufman has been head coach.
But because Saturday's 2-0 victory clinched the outright Southern Oregon Hybrid championship, it was even sweeter.
Caleb Wright scored in the 12th minute, getting an assist from Humberto Alvarez, and a corner kick in the 55th minute resulted in Greg Rapet feeding Matt Weakley for a goal to account for the scoring by the Panthers (9-1-3, 7-0 SOH).
"This is the culmination of a lot of hard work," said Kaufman. "The kids set a goal at the beginning of the season that they wanted to be conference champions and they were able to accomplish that. They're excited that they won, for sure, and that they won a championship, but there's more work for these guys to do. They've set a pretty high standard."
The Panthers were co-champions last season and last won an outright title in 2008.
South Medford has one SOH game remaining at Grants Pass Tuesday, then will be off until the state playoffs begin Nov. 5.
The layoff should help the Panthers, who have missed two of their best players for much of the season.
Alvarez donated bone marrow to his 5-year-old brother, Marco, in mid-September and played a full game Saturday for the first time since his return. He played sparingly against Crater Tuesday.
The stretch before the playoffs should help his conditioning.
"He should be clicking on all cylinders by then," said Kaufman.
Teammate Felipe Sanchez injured an ankle and has missed the second half of the league season. It's uncertain when, or if, he'll return.
"We have a very versatile group of players this year," said Kaufman. "It makes our job easier when you have injuries. It's generally unheard of when you lose two of your higher-end players and you're able to keep having success. We're very balanced top to bottom. We have guys playing multiple roles and it still doesn't affect the level of play."
GRANTS PASS 3, NORTH MEDFORD 0 — Dillon Whitham scored a pair of goals to help Grants Pass edge closer to second-place North Medford in the Southern Oregon Hybrid standings.
Whitham scored in the 14th minute off a pass by Matt Solar to give the Cavemen a 1-0 lead at halftime despite being outshot 8-4 by the Black Tornado (9-4, 5-3 SOH).
Brian Luther scored in the 50th minute following a crossing pass from Moges Dinkins, then Whitham scored again for GP (9-3-1, 4-2-1) six minutes later following a pass from Beau Manzanares.
EAGLE POINT 3, CRATER 0 — At Central Point, Eagle Point broke through in a scoreless game with a goal in the 50th minute, then tacked on insurance scores for the nonconference win, its first victory of the season.
Eagle Point is 1-9-1 and Crater 0-12.
PHOENIX 2, HIDDEN VALLEY 0, OT — Omar Iboa scored two minutes into the first overtime session and Alex Vela added an insurance goal in the second as Phoenix (7-3-1, 6-2 Skyline) picked up its fifth straight win to keep its Skyline championship hopes alive.
The Pirates outshot Hidden Valley (7-4, 5-3) 17-4 in regulation but didn't cash in until Vela crossed to Iboa and Iboa scored from 12 yards out in the 82nd minute.
Vela put the game out of reach 12 minutes later on an assist by Cody Porter.
KLAMATH UNION 4, NORTH VALLEY 2 — At Merlin, North Valley played Klamath Union to a 1-1 standstill at halftime before the Pelicans pulled away.
Trinidad Flores scored in the 13th minute for the Knights, getting an assist from Jagger Bernacel, and Manuel Miramontes scored in the 75th minute, taking a pass from Isaiah McLittle, who played well at sweeper.
Austin Crawford, Mason Crawford and Victor Rios tallied for KU, which also got an own goal.
- ST. MARY'S 7, ILLINOIS VALLEY 1 — St. Mary's improved to 9-1 overall and 4-1 in District 3 play with the runaway win at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
- CRESWELL 5, ROGUE RIVER 2 — At Creswell, Omar Jimenez scored twice for Creswell, 5-0 in District 3.
The Chieftains (3-5, 2-3 Dist. 3) got goals from Shawn Donahue in the 29th minute and Dawson Jacobs in the 73rd minute.