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High school boys soccer: Copper Hills escapes with 2-1 overtime victory over Riverton

WEST JORDAN — When Copper Hills midfielder Giancarlo Castillo stepped up to take a free kick for the host Grizzlies in the first overtime period of Tuesday afternoon's Region 3 battle between Copper Hills and Riverton, the visiting Silverwolves had little reason to panic.

It wasn't the first time Castillo had taken a free kick in the game, and it wasn’t the first set piece attempted by the Grizzlies.

Copper Hills had attempted upwards of 10 different set pieces during the contest, which included a Castillo free kick taken less than a minute before.

When the ball left Castillo’s foot, there still wasn’t any real reason for trepidation. The Silverwolves had packed the box and their defensive backs had proven all afternoon to be adept at clearing the ball.

On this occasion, however, things took a turn for the worst for Riverton. Silverwolves goalkeeper Jarom Hyde and midfielder Micah Sims collided while attempting to make a play on the ball that Castillo had deftly placed into the box.

As a result, the ball emerged from the mass of white and purple clad players and found its way into the back of the net, giving the Grizzlies a hard-fought 2-1 overtime victory.

“It kind of went off two players, it might have gone off our player or theirs,” Copper Hills head coach Eddie Moura said immediately after the game-winning score. “We might give (credit for the goal) to the kid that took the free kick, give (Giancarlo) some credit for putting it in the box and making something happen. No matter what, we will take the 2-1 win, especially since it is a region game. We need the win.”

For much of the contest, the Grizzlies (6-1, 2-1) seemed destined to walk away in defeat.

After Copper Hills defender Jayden Huffman scored the game’s opening goal four minutes in, the Silverwolves dominated possession.

The midfield for Riverton (3-2-1, 1-1) was particularly effective, with players like Zayden Paras, Kelson Kaas, Sims and Colin Horman regularly refusing to let the ball pass midfield.

“I think Riverton gave us everything that they had,” said Moura. “They came in here, in a hostile environment, and weren’t intimidated. They took it to us.”

If not the play of his back line, including Carlos Brambila and Marc Castillo, Moura’s team surely would have squandered the lead before halftime.

“The boys in the back did a tremendous job,” said Moura. “Carlos and Marc did really well. They gave 100 percent in the back. When things weren’t going really well in the middle and we were losing possession, they came up really big for us.”

With just a few minutes left in the half, it appeared the back line finally broke as Horman shook a defender easily, giving Horman a wide-open opportunity at the goal. His shot clanked harmlessly off the crossbar, however, and the teams entered the break with the Grizzlies clinging to a 1-0 lead.

The game-tying breakthrough for Riverton came in the 47th minute, when Horman finally got his goal, beating Copper Hills Grizzlies keeper Sean Lucas.

From there, the teams played a less than visually appealing brand of soccer. The result was more than a few yellow cards. The Grizzlies were given five while the Silverwolves earned one, and a near constant whistle.

“I know that it wasn’t pretty today. It was a little bit ugly,” Moura said. “It wasn’t pretty, but they were fighting for it.”

The fight appeared as though it might go on forever, two overtime periods at the least, until Castillo’s free kick found its way into the net.

“Overall, it is not the way we would like to play, but we will take the win,” said Moura.

Up next for the teams are the West Jordan Jaguars, which Riverton hosts Wednesday, with Copper Hills traveling to West Jordan on Friday.

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