The Hermiston boys’ soccer team claimed a share of

the Columbia River Conference championship with a 4-2 win Tuesday

at Armand Larive Middle School against the Pendleton Bucks.

Oscar Contreras and Orlando Guzman provided the

strikes for the Dawgs in the victory, with Contreras’ goals coming

late in the second half to break a 2-2 tie.

The first-team all-league midfielder scored in the

64th and 70th minutes to put the game away and give Hermiston a

chunk of the league title. They finished the season tied with Hood

River Valley at 4-0-2 (14 points).

“This is an indescribable feeling,” Hermiston head

coach Rich Harshbeger said. “I got doused with ice water, and it’s

the best feeling I’ve had in a long time.”

The match could have easily been 5-2, but Hermiston

missed a penalty kick in the match, something that dampened the

Dawgs’ spirits just a little, Harshberger said.

“It’s tough to come back from a missed PK,” he said.

“We had a fiery halftime chat, and we came out and set the tone in

the second half.”

After Contreras broke the 2-2 tie with his goal in

the 64th, he gave the Dawgs an insurance policy six minute later

with another strike.

“He’s a game changer,” Harshberger said of Contreras,

one of the league’s players of the year this season. “He pulled us

out of the brink. We’d be looking at a 2-2 tie if it wasn’t for his

effort.”

Guzman’s second goal was a bit of a controversial

one, however. After Hermiston stuck the ball near the goal line and

had trouble getting a clean shot on it, one of the putback attempts

was called a goal for the Dawgs, even though they didn’t think it

went in and kept on playing.

But nonetheless, the goal counted, and Harshberger

said going into the halftime break tied at 1-1 made him a little

bit nervous.

“Pendleton was looking good,” he said. “They were

putting together some nice combination plays and had great speed.

They wanted to be the spoilers.”

Pendleton’s Casey Argueta, the Bucks’ lone first-team

all-CRC pick, scored both goals.

The Dawgs played Milwaukie in a Class 5A play-in game

Friday, a team they beat 8-0 earlier in the year, but the result

was unavailable by the Herald press time.

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