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High school soccer: Wasatch Wasps fulfill their 5th grade dream with 5A state title win

Wasatch rallied to defeat Skyline 2-1, winning the program’s first state title in eight years

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The Wasatch Wasps cheer after winning the 5A soccer championship game against the Skyline Eagles at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 28, 2021.

The Wasatch Wasps cheer after winning the 5A soccer championship game against the Skyline Eagles at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Friday, May 28, 2021.

Annie Barker, Deseret News

The No. 1-seeded Wasatch Wasps sat in the stands on the south side of Rio Tinto Stadium as they watched 6A’s fellow No. 1-seeded Weber Warriors bounce back from an early 1-0 deficit to secure a state title.

Perhaps they took some notes?

After falling down 1-0 within the first 10 minutes of Friday’s 5A state title game, the Wasps scored two unanswered goals to defeat the Skyline Eagles 2-1 and secure their first state title in eight years.

The title win fulfilled a dream that many of the players had since fifth grade, a dream was instilled by their P.E. teacher, Jared Hendry, who just happens to be the head coach of the now championship-winning Wasps.

“It’s kind of surreal,” Hendry said after winning the championship game. “We’re here and we’ve won it? These boys have worked so hard, you could see their emotions afterwards. ... They love their team and they love Wasatch soccer.”

Hendry said the win will likely cement this year’s team as one of the greatest teams in Wasatch’s soccer history, along with 2013’s undefeated squad.

“Coach Hendry has been a friend, a teacher since fifth grade and I remember going up to him and saying, ‘Hey, when I’m a senior we’re winning state,’” Wasatch senior Josh Jeppson said. “So to be here in this beautiful, beautiful arena, feels so good.”

Despite being the top seed in 5A, many of the Wasatch players and coaches felt as though winning the championship is an upset in the eyes of many. 

“We’re just a small town team, even coming in at No. 1 everybody felt we were going to lose and that’s a chip on our shoulder, we’re just the underdogs every year,” Wasatch senior Edgar Garcia said.

Hendry said the Wasatch program and its supporting community take pride in and embrace being a small-town school.

“A small-town win is awesome,” Hendry said. “Our community was here, I had people who were (texting me like), ‘How do I get tickets?’ from people I didn’t even know. ... It means so much for the community and for soccer in our community.”

The Wasps and the Wasatch community plan to celebrate the state championship victory by having the players ride a fire truck down Main Street in Heber City, their version of a championship parade. After winning, coaches and players shouted and celebrated with cheers of: “We get to ride the fire truck!”

“It’s kind of surreal. We’re here and we’ve won it? These boys have worked so hard, you could see their emotions afterwards. ... They love their team and they love Wasatch soccer.” — Wasatch coach Jared Hendry

The prospects of riding the fire truck weren’t always so hopeful after the Wasps conceded early, but a goal in the 19th minute from Tayler Dummar and a Skyline own goal in the 64th minute were enough to get the job done.

“They knew they needed to possess and create chances and if they got on there they would be able to finish the game,” Hendry said of the mindset his players had after falling down early. “We got our opportunity and Tayler Dummar put it in … then we started pressing and pressing and pressing and we got that second goal.”

Although the game-winning goal came as a result of an own goal, it was Wasatch’s pressure that forced Skyline to make that mistake.

“We were putting so much pressure that if he hadn’t gotten it, then we had a kid right behind him that was ready to get it,” Hendry said. “It’s too bad for their boy, but with all the pressure we’re putting on them, you know, if it goes in it goes in.”

With the win, Hendry hopes that the trajectory of the Wasatch soccer program will continue to trend upward despite losing so many quality seniors.

“It’s just reloading and having the mindset that each year we’re going to have really great seniors to lead, and then after that, having those juniors step up and fill in the roles of those seniors every year,” Hendry said.

Time will tell if Friday’s championship win creates a perennial soccer powerhouse, but until then, you can find the Wasps riding their fire truck.