No. 1 seed, Granite Hills loses to No. 3 Dos Palos at home in division six Valley Championship game
By Paul Myers
PORTERVILLE – Despite their 19 win season and Valley Championship game appearance as the number one seed, Granite Hills didn’t have much to cheer about last Friday. Instead they were forced to listen to the Dos Palos Broncos celebrate as division six champions on their home field.
The heartbreaking moment for the Grizzlies (19-5-2) came in the 63rd minute, just after they tied the score 1-1. Dos Palos (12-12), took advantage of a lax moment on the Grizzlies defense and regained their lead 2-1. In the same minute the Broncos broke the defense a second time for their third goal of the game.
“I think the kids got so excited to tie the game. They just lost control…those two mistakes, one and then the other one, those guys get comfortable and got the second [goal],” Granite Hills head coach Pedro Gonzalez said.
The Grizzlies practically dominated the entire game, except the scoreboard. Dos Palos scored the game’s first goal in the 18th minute when they slid the ball into the corner of the net. Granite Hills’ goalie couldn’t grab it, despite laying out for the save. The Grizzlies didn’t let up a goal the rest of the half, and they continued to press the ball down on the Broncos side of the field to make up the difference.
Granite Hills’ late first half play was more of the same in the second. They got some fortunate calls from the referees, none more so than a free kick from 22 yards out and directly in front of the net. But Jonathan Carranza couldn’t slide it by the goal keeper.
Ricardo Herrera had the next best shot on goal when he was making a run at the net. Dos Palos’ goal keeper made a save by his big toe when he stuck his foot out to deflect the ball out of bound at the last second. Granite Hills didn’t break through until Daniel Ruiz caught the Broncos’ goalie out of position and rolled the ball through the corner of the net in the 62nd minute.
After the Broncos rebounded with two more goals the Grizzlies weren’t able to battle back with two of their own. By the time the final whistle sounded players littered the field with tears, but Gonzalez said that he’s proud of his team.
“We dominated the game but those two mistakes…they played hard and that’s all I ask,” Gonzalez said.
Fortunately next year, Gonzalez said that all but three of his players are returning to the roster.
“We improved little by little and in a couple years we’ll be one of the top teams,” Gonzalez said. “We have to recover and start believing in us again. We worked so hard, we believed we had it.”