SANDY — Pine View’s Ethan Baer may have scored the goal of the year and teammate Michael Wade added another score to help the Panthers beat Snow Canyon, 2-1, Friday night in the 3A state semifinals at Alta High School.
During a tense, hard-fought battle and Pine View clinging to a 1-0 lead, Baer came through big time in the 55th minute with a rocket seemingly from outer space. Baer took a free-kick from 65 yards away from the goal and arched it above the goalkeeper’s reach and just under cross bar to double the Panthers lead at 2-0.
“His goal was huge,” Flyer head coach Sam Johnston said. “I mean we have been working on that kind of stuff all year and it’s nice to have it pay off in one of the more important moments of the season. He has a huge leg and him being able to put it on frame from that distance is harder than it looks.”
Earlier in the game, just before halftime, Michael Wade corralled a bouncing cross and zipped it far-post past the keeper to score the first goal of the game (35’). Johnston said Wade’s goal was the product of a well-executed play and good finishing.
“It was a set piece and it just kind of bounced to him and he buried it far post,” he said. “Michael is the kind of shooter where if he only gets one or two shots, he usually will put one or two in. It was a huge goal because I thought that whoever gets that first goal would be huge momentum wise.”
Things went from bad to worse for the Warriors after they went down 2-0. Moments after Baer’s goal, a hard foul was called on one SC defender and he was given a red card and dismissed from the game. Several SC teammates confronted the referee and another Warrior was given a red card, leaving Snow Canyon with nine players on the pitch for the remaining 20-plus minutes.
The Warriors struggled for several minutes, but then seemed to rally around their shorthanded situation. SC hit its stride offensively, nearly scoring a couple of times before Kevin Guevera Chillin took a free kick just outside the box and sunk it in the bottom right corner in the 77th minute. SC then had a couple of great looks at the goal to tie the game, but ultimately Pine View goalkeeper Javier Gaona and company denied them.
“It wasn’t easy,” goalkeeper Javier Gaona said. “I felt like our team got overconfident, then Snow Canyon scored that first goal and it was just an eye-opener. It was nerve-wracking. I was telling them to possess the ball a little longer and roll clock. I just kept telling them clear, clear. They did great and our defending third pretty much did everything.”
Johnston added that a sense of pandemonium took over in the final three-minute barrage.
“It was chaos,” he said. “I was just trying to keep us organized and we had a really hard time doing it. We couldn’t spread the field like we wanted to and we couldn’t get them to run like we wanted to. Snow Canyon did a lot to cause chaos out there. It obviously feels good though (to come away with the win) as we were here last year and lost a tough one to Cedar and now making it back this year means a lot.”
Pine View is set to play Region 9 rival Dixie today at 1:30 p.m. for the 3A state title at Rio Tinto Stadium.
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