ST. GEORGE — Four Region 9 teams took the pitch on Friday afternoon as the UHSAA boys soccer state tournament kicked off. The Cedar Reds, the lone hosting squad, was the lone team that advanced among the locals playing this week with their first state playoff win since 2010.
Several other local teams received first-round byes.
The Reds put a 5-0 shellacking on cross-Cedar City rival Canyon View just three days after beating the Falcons by the same score in the same place. Cedar advances to take on Region 9 co-champion and No. 3 seed Dixie in St. George on Wednesday. It was Cedar’s first playoff win in seven years.
“It feels good to play our rivals and take the dub,” Reds senior captain Isaac Fletcher said. “Sometimes we come in with the wrong mindset, like, ‘We’re going to win,’ but today we came in like, ‘We need to win, we’re going to work hard. Let’s get it done.'”
The No. 14 Reds got on the board early as senior captain Isaac Fletcher found twine just eight minutes into the game. Edgar Arana got the second goal by five-holing No. 19 Canyon View’s goalkeeper to take Cedar to a 2-0 halftime lead. Fletcher scored the next two goals to start the second half, the first just three minutes after kickoff, to complete the hat trick. He nearly got a fourth on a header but just bounced it wide of the net.
Brandon Brown capped the scoring after a scramble in front of the Canyon View net with just 1:22 remaining on the clock.
But there is little time for celebration and reflection: the Reds could see a parade of Region 9 foes through each next step of the playoffs, starting with a dual with Region 9’s highest-seeded squad on Wednesday. Should they pull off the upset there they’ll face the winner of No. 6 Crimson Cliffs vs. No. 11 Ridgeline.
Cedar may have lost both contests to Dixie in the regular season but has reason to believe it can hang take on the challenge: Cedar lost 4-2 at Dixie in the season opener and 3-1 to open the second half of the calendar. Both games were closely played, enough to the point that Cedar coach Scott Kamachi thinks his team has a shot.
“We played well against Dixie up here, we played decent down there, so I think we’ll compete with them pretty well,” Kamachi said. “Dixie’s such a good team and we’re getting there. It’s just going to come down to, in the playoffs it always comes down to, who capitalizes on those mistakes.”
Either way, another Region 9 team’s dream will end on Wednesday as Canyon View’s did on Friday. The Falcons finish their final Region 9 season 1-14 and will drop to 3A next season.
Elsewhere, No. 18 Hurricane rallied back from a 2-1 halftime deficit at No. 15 Uintah to force golden goal and eventually a shootout. The Tigers lost six PKs to five. They finish their season 3-13.
No. 17 Pine View fell at No. 16 Logan 3-0. The Panthers went 3-11 in regional play and finish at 4-13.
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