Because of the double-elimination format, unbeaten Brighton had little to play for Wednesday night in the 4A state soccer tournament. Even if the Bengals had lost to Mountain View, they'd have received a bye and still played for the championship.
So did the Bengals let down? Hardly. Scoring the most goals in any tournament game, they hammered Mountain View 5-1. Brighton will meet defending champion Viewmont, a 3-1 winner over Clearfield, in tonight's (6:00) tourney finals at Hillcrest High. Viewmont would have to win to force a true championship game Friday.Brighton brushed aside any notion of backing off by scoring four first-half goals against Mountain View, making Coach Tom Cushing justified in not worrying about a letdown. "We were a little down against Clearfield (Monday); a little flat, and I don't know why," he noted. "I thought we'd play a real good game today - and we did."
Junior forward Darin Wickens scored two first-half goals and senior halfback Jason Wickens added another, while forward Travis Oviatt scored once in each half for the Bengals. Cushing was able to rest several players in the second half, which could help in the finals of the week-long event. Mountain View's goal came on Ian Dunn's penalty kick against Brighton's second-team goalkeeper.
The way the Bengals played Wednesday when a loss would not really have hurt them would seemingly leave little chance that they'll coast tonight, with two chances to win one game. "We want it finished," said Cushing.
Counting an inter-region playoff game, the Bengals have outscored five postseason opponents 19-4. They haven't met Viewmont since losing to the Vikings in last May's tournament.
Viewmont 3, Clearfield 1
The Vikings avenged a first-round loss to the Falcons as Nick Berry, Matt Brenchley and Dave Chidester scored. The defending champs have had a tough road to the finals - this was their only remotely easy win.
After falling to Clearfield, the Vikings needed an overtime shootout to overcome Taylorsville in an elimination game. They followed that with a 1-0 blanking of Davis before meeting Clearfield again.
Last spring, the Vikings completed the tournament unbeaten, downing Skyline in the finals. This time, they'll need the "if-necessary" game if they intend to keep their title.