As the final 10 seconds of regulation began to tick away from the game clock of Wednesday’s 6A state championship between Davis and Herriman, Mustang’s head coach Marcello Gasperini — and everyone else in Rio Tinto Stadium, for that matter — thought his team was headed for what would be their ninth overtime game of the season.

It turned out that there was one person in the stadium who didn’t think that extra time would be coming — Herriman junior Trevor Walk.

With the voice of Jeff Reeves counting down from 10 echoing throughout the venue, Walk screamed for the ball while standing just outside of the 18-yard box, got past a defender, took one last touch and then pulled the trigger.

The rest was history for the Herriman Mustangs.

Walk’s right-footed shot squeezed past the outstretched hands of the Davis keeper and into the back of the net with just two seconds remaining in the game to give No. 18 seed Herriman the 1-0 victory and its first state championship in school history. 

“That one goes down in the books,” Gasperini said. “I thought we were going to overtime, but it looks like today we did it with a couple seconds left. … I was screaming my guts out at them to shoot (all game), and the one shot they take goes in, but we’ll bank on that all day.”

After a regular season that featured a seven game losing streak and concluded with a losing record, it seemed like the conclusion for this year’s Herriman team had already been written. 

The program had boasted plenty of top-end squads over the years, and made title game appearances in 2017 and 2018. The Mustangs lost both games in penalty shootouts, and went on to make a semifinal appearance as recently as last year, but this year’s squad had just three wins in their first 11 games. It didn’t look like 2022 was going to be kind to the Mustangs.

Gasperini — who was in his first season as Herriman’s coach — said that everyone, including the players themselves, counted them out at one point in the season, but he watched the talent the team had every day in practice and knew they could turn things around. 

“The hardest part was getting them to continue to believe it,” Gasperini said. 

“But from the day we had tryouts the message was ‘we are a championship team.’ In the season when we had the losing record, we started asking ‘are we really champions?’ But once we started to get a little bit of rhythm, the 11 on the field started to believe it.”

A playoff run that included upset wins over second-seeded Corner Canyon, seventh-seeded West and sixth-seeded Farmington was capped off on Wednesday with yet another upset. This time around, it was the fifth-seeded Darts who were the victim.

The Mustangs doubled their win total in the playoffs, matching the amount of victories they had in the regular season (5) in the postseason to finish with a 10-8 record and end the season on a seven game winning streak. 

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“Once the playoffs came our mentalities were just there and we were hungry for the wins,” Walk said.

“Every game we were talking about we had nothing to lose. These other teams should be scared of us because if they lose, they’re losing to an 18-seed. So we just came in with that underdog mentality and we were able to get it done out there.”

Following a tumultuous regular season, an improbable playoff run and a nearly 80 minute staring contest with the Darts, it was Walk’s buzzer-beating solo goal that sealed the fate of the Mustangs and finally confirmed what Gasperini and his staff had been saying all along: They are, in fact, champions–for the first time ever.

Gasperini said the memory will rival his wedding day and the day his children were born.

“Rocky at points, but when you stand back from this place and look back (at the season), it’s pretty incredible to see how they dug through it and found this victory today,” Gasperini said. 

“We have an incredible talent pool in Herriman, so it’s exciting to see that this will just be the first one we get. There’s more to come and we’re looking forward to it.”