HILLSBORO — It was the rematch for the ages. The No. 1 Riverside Pirates pitted against the No. 2 Catlin Gabel Eagles, both teams undefeated with a tie on the books from earlier this month.
On Saturday, the two schools met at Liberty High School in Hillsboro for the Class 3A/2A/1A title, and the Pirates sunk the defending champion Eagles 4-1.
“I’m shocked, about the score — that’s the only thing I’m shocked about is the score,” assistant coach Jose Duenas said. “We knew we had a really good team — we had the right pieces for the right team and everything worked out.”
The victory didn’t come without some heart-stopping moments. To start, the Eagles (12-1-5) and Pirates (17-0-1) were trading attacks which put both goalies to work. Riverside’s freshman keeper Gerardo Lopez made two key back-to-back stops that easily could have given Catlin Gabel the lead.
A shot from Armando Ramirez-Cardenas in the 17th minutes found the net to give Riverside a 1-0 lead, with senior Kevin Madrigal on the assist.
“We needed that (goal),” senior Jose Peralta said. “They were attacking well, but our goal set them back. ... We were expecting them to come in hard, and knew they wanted to defend their title.”
Riverside opened the second half with goals on back-to-back possessions to push its lead to 3-0.
The first came off the foot of sophomore Ulyces Lopez after he beat three Catlin Gabel defenders. Lopez ended up a few feet away from the goal line before he turned and fired to the inside post.
“The keep was expecting it to go far post,” Lopez said, “and I trusted my gut and went near post, and it went in.”
Peralta would send another one in on the ensuing attack after he beat the keeper and was charging toward an open goal, and senior Misael Madrigal scored on a penalty kick shortly afterward.
Riverside brings its second title back to Boardman, and the first under head coach Francisco Velazquez.
“It’s my dream,” he said. “I had the state championship when I was the assistant coach and now I have my state championship as the head coach.”