Home of the Braves: Boys, girls win 5A soccer titles

Boise High boys and girls sweep 5A state soccer championship games.

rroberts@idahostatesman.com © 2013 Idaho StatesmanOctober 27, 2013 

  • STATE SOCCER CHAMPIONS

    5A BOYS: Boise

    5A GIRLS: Boise

    4A BOYS: Jerome

    4A GIRLS: Sandpoint

    3A BOYS: Gooding

    3A GIRLS: McCall-Donnelly

MERIDIAN — There they were, smashed together and smiling like one big happy family.

Well, one Brave family, anyway.

The Boise High boys and girls soccer teams posed for photos together Saturday night after sweeping the 5A state championship games at Rocky Mountain High’s Brighton Stadium, each with shutout wins over rival Centennial.

It is believed to be the first time the feat has been accomplished at the 5A level since the Braves did so in 1994.

“This is more about the journey of getting here and setting the goal and who they’ve become in the process,” Boise boys assistant Jared Larsen said. “It feels great to win, but it’s even more amazing to see who they’ve become throughout the year.

“I think that their example and the shadow of the legacy that they will leave behind is something that they will remember forever.”

5A GIRLS

BOISE 1, CENTENNIAL 0

Maddy Watts could feel the confidence in Grace Hancock’s voice.

So instead of taking the free kick herself — as she did most of the season — Watts ran toward the ball, faked and let Hancock run in for the shot.

The ball curled around the right side of Centennial’s wall of players and into the bottom left corner of the goal, finding about the only open foot of space between the post and Centennial goalkeeper Fernanda Rogel.

Hancock’s goal in the 66th minute proved to be the game-winner, lifting Boise to its 11th 5A state championship in girls soccer.

“I actually couldn’t see the ball hit the net because the wall was right there,” Hancock said. “I was going for the dip and curl over the wall, so I knew that I scored when I saw the rest of the net shaking.”

Added Watts, “The moment when it went in it was fantastic. It was the best feeling.”

But the Braves had to quell their excitement — at least for 14 more minutes.

The Patriots put the pressure on in a furious attempt to score and force overtime, keeping Boise goalkeeper Katelyn Dayhoff on her toes.

“All I could think about was no ball in my goal,” Dayhoff said.

Friday’s championship was the sixth for coach Chris Siegenthaler, and first since 2010. The Braves entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed, and had to get past defending champion Lake City and Timberline in double overtime just to get to the championship game.

“We like to think we always have a chance, but winning it never feels old hat,” Siegenthaler said. “It’s new and fresh every time.”

5A BOYS

BOISE 4, CENTENNIAL 0

Grant Billings’ first instinct was a good one.

The senior keeper rushed out of the goal as time expired, arms spread wide.

In his elation, the hugs were heartfelt and encompassing.

What better way to celebrate a state championship than by thanking the very ones who joined in the journey?

Billings and his Boise teammates certainly had a lot to celebrate Saturday night.

The Braves outscored their three state tournament opponents 14-1, helping head coach Mike Darrow win his fourth state championship since 2007.

“I’m a pretty outgoing guy. You have to be if you’re the goalkeeper. Your job is to yell at everyone for 80 minutes,” Billings said. “But I don’t know, I wanted this pretty bad and it was hard to not go over and say hi to my friends and celebrate.”

Senior Ben Loveless broke open a scoreless championship game against Centennial with a header in the 21st minute, fellow senior Carter Perry scored on a penalty kick 12 minutes later, and Garrett Hardesty’s two second-half goals put the game out of reach.

“We had a great tournament, honestly, and I guess you could say it seemed like it was easy,” Hardesty said, “but I think it was just because as a team we recognized this was our state cup. We wanted it to be our state cup.”

On a team that features 16 seniors, seven different players scored for the Braves at state, making the challenge of winning state look easier than it truly was.

“This was our goal the whole season, especially with all the seniors,” said Perry, who led the Braves with six goals and an assist. “Obviously this was our last year, so we wanted to make a mark.”

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