The play in soccer happens so often, with such routine and, generally, without consequence, it’s hardly noticed.
It’s basketball’s answer to an inbounds pass, only feet must remain in touch with the ground in soccer, restricting throwing leverage.
To heave with range and accuracy is a gift, and Clovis North High’s Will Bishop has it.
Never miss a local story.
“He’s skilled,” Broncos coach Chad McCarty said after a deep Bishop throw-in resulted in Austin Hathcoat’s superb header inside the left post with 10 minutes remaining as fourth-seeded Clovis North prevailed 1-0 at home against No. 5 Bullard on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Central Section Division I boys playoffs.
“Will has such as dangerous throw,” McCarty said. “He can throw it into the box, which puts their defenders on their heels and allows us to get our big guys forward and try to crash the goal. Not many kids can throw the ball with that type of accuracy and distance. It can be a game-changer.”
The crowd bundled up on a gray, 55-degree day had almost conceded to overtime when Hathcoat measured the pass perfectly among a mass of players from both sides in front of the goal and somehow avoided the heretofore brilliant gloves of Knights goalie Peter Larsen.
“Superman,” gushed a woman sitting among Bullard fans earlier in the second half after Larsen soared to swallow his latest in a series of Broncos corner kicks.
But Larsen found his match in Clovis North freshman keeper Ryan Moffitt almost three months after the teams tied 1-1 in a nonleague season opener.
Next it’s top-seeded Buchanan (18-2-1) — again — for the Broncos (16-6-1), who split with the Bears in the Tri-River Athletic Conference. Round III will be to gain entry into the championship, with the semifinal at 3 p.m. Wednesday on the Bears’ field.
Clovis North’s 2-1 conquest of Buchanan only a week ago dropped the Bears from Nos. 1 and 3 in state and national rankings by topdrawersoccer.com to Nos. 5 and 10.
And Buchanan — the defending D-I champion and section titlist in three of the past four years — appeared vulnerable once again Friday in a 1-0 escape over No. 9 Golden Valley.
“I love playing Buchanan,” said Bishop, a three-year varsity player. “It was a great atmosphere when they came here and we beat them, and I feel we can do it again. We’re not scared of them, no matter what their ranking is. We can beat anyone in the Valley.”
Hathcoat will arrive next week with but three season goals. But No. 3 was unlike any he’s had in 13 years of soccer.
“That’s the biggest goal I’ve had,” he said. “Will has that long throw we use. I just try to get a head on it and flick it in there. Luckily I was able to, angled it and it bounced our way.”
Clovis North edged Sunnyside 4-3 for the 2012 Division II title but since has lost in D-I semis as a higher seed to Clovis West (1-0, 2013) and Buchanan (2-1, 2014).
The Broncos, with their fifth class of seniors, lost 4-1 in late January in the first round of the TRAC to Buchanan, which won the league at 9-1. Clovis North was second at 7-3.
“We weren’t ourselves the first time, and they throttled us pretty good,” McCarty said. “They’re physical, strong and fast. We’re a little smaller, but quick and skillful. The trick for us will be to move the ball quickly and now allow them to catch up to it.”