Rubehn Martinez might not be able to describe the goal he scored Tuesday night at Lamonica Stadium, but it will go down as one of the biggest in Clovis High boys soccer history.
Martinez knocked in a deflection for the go-ahead goal in the second half, and the top-seeded Cougars went on to defeat No. 6 Clovis North 3-1 in the Central Section Division I final. It’s Clovis’ second section title, adding to the Yosemite Division crown the Cougars won in 1995, according to historian Bob Barnett.
“I don’t remember” how he scored the goal, Martinez said. “But they said my name after it went in, so I’m good with that.”
Martinez’ goal came in the 51st minute to snap a 1-1 tie.
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The play started with Braedon Rouff breaking free on a run down the right flank and firing a point-blank shot at Clovis North’s Cooper Wenzel. The freshman goalkeeper got his hands on the head-high shot from Rouff, but the ball ricocheted to Martinez, who split two defenders on a run down the middle, literally running into the ball while sending it into the cage.
“I was just trying to hit it hard because I knew a deflection, it would go in,” Rouff said. “And it deflected right in the path of Rubehn.”
It was Martinez’s second game-winner of the postseason. His 30-yard lob shot toward the end of a second overtime period lifted Clovis to a 5-4 victory over No. 8 Central in the quarterfinals.
“I just said ‘this goal is mine. No one is taking it from me,’ and I put it in,” Martinez said. “Nothing was stopping me on that play.”
Clovis added an insurance goal in the 74th minute when Rouff got free along the left side and tapped a left-footed shot into the cage to help the Cougars improve to 24-3 on the season.
We’ve been working hard all season looking forward to this moment. It’s amazing.
Clovis’ Braedon Rouff, who scored one goal set up two others during the Cougars’ 3-1 win over Clovis North for the Central Section Division I boys soccer title.
“We’ve been working hard all season looking forward to this moment,” Rouff said. “It’s amazing.”
Clovis scored first as Oscar Rubalcava kicked in a deflected shot by Rouff in the 11th minute.
Clovis North (13-9-1) countered 2 minutes later when Fisayo Olukani connected.
The Cougars placed an extra defender on Olukani the rest of the way, and goalkeeper Evan Ghimenti came up with a big save late in the second half.
“”The boys did the work. They followed the plan all year long, stayed the course,” said Clovis coach Danny Amparano, who’s roster features 10 players with three or more years of varsity experience. “We didn’t flinch too much this year. When we had a setback, they bounced back. That’s a testament to these guys. They don’t want to lose.”
Clovis will represent the Central Section in the CIF Southern California Regionals in Division I. The Cougars’ opponent will be announced Sunday.
“This is part of the process,” Martinez said. “A (Central Section title) ring is nothing to a state title. That’s where we’re going and no one is going to stop us.”
Clovis North was an unlikely Division I finalist after going through 11th-seeded Bullard 3-0 in the first round, followed by upsets of No. 3 Bakersfield 1-0 in the quarterfinals and No. 2 Buchanan 3-2 in the semis.
“It was a great final. Both teams came to win and it showed in the intensity of the match,” Broncos coach Chad McCarty said. “For us, it was an up and down season, but we found our rhythm in the playoffs.”
John Hernandez gave top-seeded Golden West its only lead in the first of two 10-minute overtime periods and the Trailblazers held on for a 3-2 comeback against No. 2 Edison.
It’s the first section boys soccer title for Golden West (19-3-0) following runner-up finishes in 1987, 1989, 2003 and 2010, according to historian Bob Barnett. The Trailblazers advance to the CIF Southern California Regionals in Division II.
Edison, which was aiming for the school’s fourth section title, received goals from Joaquin Ayon and Michael Enriquez while building a 2-0 lead in the first half. The Tigers finish 20-7-0.
Francisco Hernandez got behind the defense and sent a shot from in front of the right post into the left corner of the cage to lift second-seeded Dinuba to a 1-0 victory over No. 5 Madera South for its second D-III title in the past three seasons.
The Emperors (20-2-5) advance to the CIF SoCal Regionals. Madera South finishes 15-10-0.
Estevan Moreno scored the go-ahead goal on a free kick with 8 minutes left in regulation, and Marcos Ceballos added an insurance goal a little while later to lead fourth-seeded Lindsay over No. 2 Arvin 3-1 in the final.
After a scoreless first half, Arvin (19-4-0) scored first on Cesar Ortiz’s goal in the 42nd minute.
Lindsay (23-2-1) countered o Agustin Valdovinos’ goal in the 48th minute.
Top-seeded Chavez downed No. 3 McFarland 2-0 in the final.
Danny Trejo scored the state record-extending 198th goal of his four-year career to cap top-seeded Mendota’s 4-0 victory over No. 2 Avenal for the Aztecs’ second straight D-VI championship.
Rey Murillo scored the only goal Mendota would need in the first half.
Roberto Bonilla and Elmer Ramos added second-half goals for the Aztecs (22-4-2).
Avenal finished 18-6-1.
CENTRAL SECTION FINALS
Clovis 3, Clovis North 1
CN, Fisayo Olukani. C, Oscar Rubalcava, Rubehn Martinez, Braedon Rouff. Records: Clovis North 13-9-1, Clovis 24-3-0.