BLACKFOOT — It was a near perfect day for a soccer game on the Blackfoot pitch on Thursday afternoon as the Blackfoot Broncos squared off with conference rival Hillcrest on an evening when Blackfoot paid a fond farewell to four seniors.
Unfortunately, those seniors didn't pick up a win in their final home contest but they didn't lose either, finishing in a 1-1 tie.
"You always want to send the seniors off with a win but unfortunately that doesn't always happen," Blackfoot head coach Liam Pope said. "Still, we came into today's match with a goal of being able to control our own destiny for the number one seed in districts and we still do even with a tie."
After taking a first half lead, the Broncos had a short but sweet presentation to honor Gerardo Bartolo, Carlos Flores, Carlos Murillo and Luis Oseguera and their families for their combined contributions to a Blackfoot soccer program that is one of the best in all of Southeastern Idaho.
Flores was the shining star in a first half in which the Broncos controlled the pace of play right from the opening whistle. Flores put the Broncos on the board with a brilliant goal as he took a ball out of the air and one timed it past the flat footed goal keeper for the 1-0 lead in the thirty-fifth minute of play.
That proved to be all the scoring for the Broncos however, despite having the ball in the Hillcrest side of the pitch for a majority of the contest.
"I keep coming back to that word ruthless," Coach Pope said. "When you control that much of the game you simply have to take advantages of your opportunities. Give credit to Hillcrest and their defense though because they did a good job of keeping us out of their goal. I'm a little concerned that we didn't generate very many clear chances."
One glaring clear chance that the Broncos had was in the seventy-eight minute of play. With the score tied at 1-1, Carlos Murillo split the defense and had a straight run at the goal keeper. The defender, out of desperation tackled Murillo in what looked to be a clear foul in the goal box.
The expected whistle never came however as no penalty was called and the Blackfoot bench erupted as they clearly were incensed by the absence of a whistle.
The referee later exclaimed that the defender had hit the ball, which was in itself true but not before nearly breaking both of Murillo's legs on his way to the ball.
"We passed the ball pretty well today but we have to make the possessions count when we have them," Coach Pope said.
Blackfoot (9-1-2, 7-1-1) will go for the regular season conference championship Tuesday when they travel to Bonneville but before that, they will tangle with Snake River at Snake River Saturday evening under the lights on the football field at 8 P.M.