When junior Kayla Wade was asked how many players she knew personally on the Farmington roster, she quickly responded, “All of them.”
For the third time this season, the rival Davis and Farmington girls’ soccer teams fought to a 1-0 finish, and this time, it was Davis who came out on top as the Darts beat the Phoenix and laid claim to the 6A state championship on Friday afternoon. The Darts returned to the top of the 6A class for the second time in three seasons, but it was an uphill climb as they not only missed the semifinals in 2021, but also had a number of losses in the beginning of the season.
“To me, what’s special about this year is it’s so unexpected,” Davis coach Souli Phongsavath said. “We lost a couple games early, had a lot of injuries…to be able to do this is amazing. I’m very fortunate to have been several of these before and win some of them as well, but this is probably the most unexpected championship that we’ve had.”
The tradition of winning was a difference-maker for the Darts, and as Phongsavath often told his players, “Tradition never graduates.”
“Tradition’s a big deal for us,” Phongsavath said. “I think, when we step on the field, everyone wants a shot at us. It’s just that mentality that when we go out there, we have something to prove. We’re going to get everybody’s best game.”
Davis had a great deal of familiarity with Farmington, not only due to two regular season games as Region 1 opponents, but also on a personal level as many players on both sides grew up together. The schools reside only six miles from each other in central Davis County.
“These kids went to junior high together,” Phongsavath said. “They’ve played club ball together, a lot of them. For us, it was just scary, because the thought of losing to your rival, right? Most of these should have gone to Davis High had (Farmington) not opened up.”
Farmington was on attack mode for most of the first half, firing away at Davis goalkeeper Eleshia Magley.
Ultimately, in the 37th minute, it was Davis that broke through in the first half for the most decisive sequence of the game. On a spectacular play from the corner, sophomore Brooklyn Phongsavath arced a corner kick perfectly for Wade to nudge in a header for the go-ahead goal and the lead.
“In practice, we’ve been really hard on corner kicks,” Wade said. “We were prepared for that. The ball was beautifully placed by Brooklyn, and I put it in.”
The Phoenix came close to an early lead when senior Swayzee Arnell broke through the defense in the 23rd minute. She had only Magley to beat, but Arnell’s shot sailed over the net and sent her away with nothing.
When the final whistle rang out, there was no handshake line. The two teams, who knew each other so well met each other at midfield and embraced each other like family.
“The rivalry is really fun,” Wade said. “I think it’s hit just so much closer to home. They’re the closest thing we have to our school. It’s friends that we’ve grown up with our entire lives, so we have that competition growing up, and it blooms into a championship game like today.