CALDWELL – The High Country Conference champion Blackfoot Broncos opened their state tournament on Thursday afternoon as they tangled with Minico in the first round at Brothers Field on the campus of Caldwell High School.
In a game that seemed to be played almost entirely in the Spartans end of the field, Blackfoot was able to prevail and advance to the semi-finals with a hard fought 1-0 victory.
“Minico are very strong defensively and you saw that today,” Blackfoot head coach Liam Pope said. “I think that we came out a bit nervous but we were able to come through with a win and anytime that you can pick up a win in a tournament you’ll take it.”
Nervous or not, Blackfoot had several goal scoring opportunities but were unable to find the range on their shots, leading to some stress as the game got later on the time clock.
“I will never complain about the amount of chances that we got,” Coach Pope said. “I would have preferred to have gotten a few more into the goal however. It would have taken my blood pressure down considerably.”
With the score locked at 0-0 heading into the second half, Minico seemingly took the lead on a scoring play midway through the second half. That goal was disallowed however as the side referee stood poised with his flag held high in the air signaling an off sides by the Spartans.
From there, an Ozzy Oseguera led defense was impenetrable and try as they might, the Spartans were unable to get another quality look for the remainder of the contest.
On the offensive end, Blackfoot put on a ruthless display as they attacked the Spartan goal with reckless abandon as they searched for the answer against a dwindling time clock.
With 75 minutes elapsed, Blackfoot finally got the look that they were looking for when a ball ricochet around the box and landed at the feet of senior striker Gerardo Bartolo. As he has done on numerous occasions in his prep career, Bartolo wasted little time as he blasted a shot into the lower right hand corner for the game winning score.
“We have talked about it all year long, getting players into the box,” Coach Pope said. “If we just keep putting players into the box and keep sending shots in there your chances of getting a shot continue to go up and that is exactly what happened today. Take nothing away from Minico, they play very good defense but we got what we were looking for.”
Blackfoot will play Skyview today at 2 P.M. at the same facility. Skyview knocked off Preston 3-1 to advance.