Neither McLane High’s players nor coach Ramiro Teran remember the last time the Highlanders captured a North Yosemite League boys soccer championship.
After all, none of the Highlanders’ players had been born, and Teran was only 6 years old and living in Porterville at the time.
The Bee’s Central Section No. 8-ranked McLane clinched the school’s first NYL title since 1979 with a 2-2 double-overtime tie Thursday at No. 11 Roosevelt that featured goals from Sergio Gonzalez and Juan Flores.
“We made history,” Flores said. “I’m proud I get to be a part of this.”
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We made history. I’m proud I get to be a part of this.
McLane’s Juan Flores, who had a goal and an assist in a 2-2 tie against Roosevelt that secured the Highlanders at least a tie for the North Yosemite League boys soccer title
The Highlanders (18-5-1, 7-0-1) have two remaining regular-season games, both at home, on Monday against Fresno and Feb. 10 against Hoover, teams with two combined NYL wins.
“It’s been a great season,” Gonzalez said. “We had three goals this season: take the Garces tournament, take NYL and take Valley. We’re not done with our goals yet.”
McLane continues a breakout that started last season when it charged to the Division IV final and lost 2-1 against Washington to cap a 15-10-2 season.
The Highlanders tuned-up for NYL play this season by winning the Premier B division of the Garces Holiday Soccer Festival, beating Ridgeview 3-2 in the final. McLane then opened NYL play with seven straight wins before Thursday.
With seven-year assistant Edgar Mondragón in charge of the team because 14-year coach Teran had a conflict with a class he’s taking for his master’s degree, McLane fell behind 1-0 in the first half when Roosevelt’s Armando Gonzalez scored in the ninth minute off an assist from Ivan Garcia.
Gonzalez scored the tying goal seven minutes into the second half when he took a feed from Flores and buried a shot into the upper right corner.
The Highlanders took a 2-1 lead in the 58th minute when Flores took a cross from Ivan Alanis, made a move to shake a defender and fired home his 23rd goal of the season.
Frankie Martinez’s penalty kick in the 61st minute tied the score again for the Rough Riders (9-5-2, 4-2-1).
Both team had good looks, but neither scored through two 10-minute overtime sessions.
23 Goals on the season for McLane junior Juan Flores
“We always start weak in the first half,” Flores said. “But we know how to adjust and come back stronger.”
McLane, whose five losses all have been against Division I or II opposition, appears to be the favorite to land the No. 1 seed for the D-IV playoffs. Pairings will be announced Feb. 12 and the postseason begins Feb. 16.
“We use last year as motivation,” Gonzalez said. “We’re playing with heart this year. We really want it.”