It was over in 10 minutes.
Buchanan High knew it, ultra confident after the Bears’ game plan had been executed.
Centennial coach Jeff Vaughan sensed it, too, even if he had hoped otherwise.
Buchanan junior Jacob Rudolph found the net in the first five minutes – on a 25-yard diagonal shot that sailed to the top right corner of the goal.
Seven minutes later, Rudolph did it again with almost exactly the same type of bending shot.
And the defense did the rest as top-seeded Buchanan captured a third straight Central Section title with a 2-0 victory against No. 7 Centennial in the Division I championship Saturday.
2Goals for Buchanan’s Jacob Rudolph in the first 12 minutes of Saturday’s championship match
“We said that if we can find a goal in the first 10 minutes and shut them down, then we would be in good shape,” Buchanan coach John Spurgeon said. “We got two in 12.
“I just really liked our chances.”
Buchanan (21-1-7) locked up its 17th shutout, once again aided by a senior-laden backfield of Colson Verhalen, Josaiah Trejo and goalkeeper Ryan Bray – all three-year senior starters.
And the shutout came against the highest scoring D-I team in the section with Centennial (15-9-3) having registered 64 goals.
“Basically, the game was literally almost over in 10 minutes,” Vaughan said. “We just didn’t show up.
They were fantastic from one goal to another.
Centennial coach Jeff Vaughan on Buchanan
“They came out hard and fast, got two goals. They were fantastic from one goal to another.”
Buchanan, section champ in five of the past six years, will learn of its CIF Southern California Regional matchup next Sunday.
Spurgeon said he thought the Bears could receive the No. 1 overall seed after Paramount (20-2-3), the top-ranked team in the state, lost Friday in the Southern Section playoffs.
Should the Bears receive the top seed, Buchanan would be in line to play all of its games at home on its fairly new and regulation-size soccer field.
Buchanan’s pitch – at 120 yards long by 78 yards wide – has caused fits for opponents accustomed to playing on football fields, which aren’t as wide, generally about 65 yards across.
Centennial was the latest to get rattled at Buchanan.
“We had a lot of guys had who had an off day, maybe a little scared and intimidated by them,” Vaughan said. “They’re a very good team, and there’s a big field here that we’re not used to playing on.
“You can’t have an off day in the playoffs.”
Rudolph made sure Centennial would feel the pressure early.
The junior dribbled to the left of the goal and just outside the box and fired a shot that sailed high and curved to the right into the top right corner of the goal.
A few minutes later, Rudolph received a long outlet pass and used nifty footwork to position himself near the same spot. His kick sailed, followed almost the same path as his first goal and into the net.
The fact that I got to score was just awesome. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.
Buchanan’s Jacob Rudolph
“Me and my coaches, and (teammate JT) Arruda, we always stayed after practices to just to work on those shots – just for this moment,” Rudolph said. “The fact that I got to score was just awesome. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing.”