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MIDDLETON â€” The Blackfoot Broncos accomplished their lofty goal on Saturday evening as they blanked a very talented Caldwell team 3-0 for their first ever state soccer championship.
"The standard has been raised. The first state championship for a Blackfoot team, that's the new standard now," Blackfoot head coach Liam Pope said. "To win a state championship, it is just brilliant and it sets a new precedence for Blackfoot soccer."
Playing in their first state tournament since the state runner up squad of 2004, Blackfoot turned to their stellar defense to shut down the potent Caldwell squad. Anchored by Ozzy Oseguera in the net, Blackfoot was as stingy as Ebineezer Scrooge on the holidays as they kept a clean sheet throughout the contest for their second shut out of the three day tournament.
"We were under the kosh for long periods in this game and when that happens you have to defend properly, clear the ball and regroup and then take your chances when they arrive and we did," Coach Pope said.
Indeed, the Cougars did have more than their fair share of chances at the Blackfoot net but Oseguera was more than capable on those occasions when a shot slipped through the Blackfoot defense. Oseguera turned in big saves in the ninth, eleventh and twelve minutes of play as Caldwell opened the game with a rush.
"I knew that Caldwell was a great team but we worked and did everything as a team," Oseguera said. "We defended so well as a team, our midfielders got back and our attackers when they got the ball we pushed forward. It was a team effort. We are just like a family and it proved it on the score tonight."
After the heroics in net, Blackfoot then got one of their chances on the offensive end as Alberto Tafoya broke behind the Cougar defense. On the shot, Tafoya was fouled leading to a penalty kick that senior Gerardo Bartolo took. Proving that he indeed had another cannon left in his cleats, Bartolo smoothly blasted what proved to be the game winner past the Cougar goal keeper for a 1-0 lead at the sixteen minute mark.
That lead remained until the 62nd minute when Tafoya once again found himself behind the defense but this time, Tafoya finished the goal with a beautiful shot into the top of the net and a 2-0 lead.
Three minutes later, a gambling Cougar team left Blackfoot with another chance and this time it was senior Carlos Flores who cashed in, sending the very large Blackfoot crowd into a frenzy with the Broncos third goal of the night with just 15 minutes remaining on the clock.
"That second goal just took the steam out of them," Coach Pope said. "I just reminded the boys at three nothing to not let down. I've seen too many games. I've played in too many games where there is a let up and before you know it there's a comeback so I just kept reminding them to defend and do everything right."
Indeed, the Broncos did do everything right and as they celebrated by tossing their coach into the air, Blackfoot was crowned the 2011 state champions on a night that none of them will soon forget.
"Amazing," Coach Pope said. "You have a squad of players that are tossing you up and down after we've just won a championship in front of an amazing crowd, probably triple or quadruple our normal home game attendance who came over to support us. Of course then there was that moment when I felt my trousers starting to slip down and it was a good thing that I had a pair of soccer shorts on underneath because that would have just ruined the night for people."