CIF Championship Caps Remarkable Season
Article by: Garreth Konig, Hayden Hunt, Luis Salas, Josh Gama
Saturday, the 29th of February, was an historic day in the Patrick Henry High School Men’s soccer program. For the first time since 1998, the varsity soccer team took home a CIF championship trophy. Through the course of the season the Patriots had already brought home three trophies; Parker Cup Champions, San Diego County Cup Champions and City League Champions. They carried a 16-3-5 season record into the finals. Home field playoff wins against Granite Hills HS (2-1) and Castle Park HS (1-0) earned a trip to the finals for the Patriots. For the seniors present, winning a CIF championship was a freshman fantasy. A want that grew and festered with each passing year. For these seniors, it was a now or never moment. This game was in every meaning of the word a final.
The Championship game was a beautiful afternoon at Mission Bay High School as the Patriots #2-seed went against the #1-seeded Escondido Cougars. The Cougars had advanced over the Hilltop Lancers, beating them 4-3 in overtime to reach the D3 CIF Championship Finals.
Competitive, breakneck, and exhilarating are only a few of the many ways to describe the match between the Patriots and the Cougars. The game began with the Patriots starting off strong with a ball over the top from Junior Josh Gama to Jonathan Moreno’s feet, the senior controlling and placing the ball in the bottom right corner giving PHHS the lead. However, near the end of the first half, the Cougars were not ready to throw the towel yet catching the Patriots off guard and scoring to tie the game up at halftime.
After a grueling second half, both teams going back and forth at each other, the game ended 1-1 at the end of the 80 minutes. Both teams were headed to a 15-minute overtime period. Soccer has the overtime “golden goal” rule which means the team who scores first, wins the game. With a little less than 5 minutes left to play, Josh Gama quickly threw the ball into Diego Barragan who crossed the ball first time into Julian Garcia who took a couple of touches and blasted a shot. An exhilarating moment for the Patriots and their fans came as the shot headed towards the goal. As the ball glided into the bottom corner of the goal everyone was ecstatic and filled with excitement. Players and coaches ran on the field celebrating the victory. It was a great moment to capture in person and capped off one of the most historic seasons ever for Patriot Athletics.
After obtaining 4/4 available trophies this season the varsity squad was eager to move onto Regionals. Unfortunately, this hope was lost to Santiago High School (eventual champions) in a 2-1 loss, the last goal being scored in the last minute of extra time.
The 2019-2020 season ends with a 17-4-5 (8-0-2 league) record. An impressive 10-game winning streak through league and playoffs. The San Diego Union-Tribune’s final Men’s Soccer rankings has the Patriots #9 in San Diego County. They were the only non-division one team in the top 10. In the end, this extraordinary season will not be forgotten and, hopefully, encourage next year’s varsity team to do even better.
Coach Cody Clark reflects, “I am unbelievably proud of the accomplishments of this team and the seniors especially. They accepted the challenge that myself and Coach Tom placed before them each day to compete at the highest level. It wasn’t an easy process and the positive response from the team will be a testament to how this group achieved such an incredible record this season. This team will truly go down in history as one of the best not only in the Men’s Soccer program but in the entire history of Patriot Athletics.”
Parker Cup Champions
San Diego County Cup Champions
City League Champions
CIF Division 3 Champions