Desert Pines’ boys soccer team didn’t have much tradition to speak of entering the Sunrise Region tournament.
The Jaguars appear to be changing that quickly.
Jesus Garcia and Victor Favela scored one minute apart in the second half to spark Desert Pines to a 2-1 victory over Tech in a region semifinal Thursday at Bettye Wilson Park.
“We’re making history right now,” said Favela, a senior forward. “All our hard work has paid off. We put our minds to it that we were going to take state, and we’re on that path. We’re not going to let down.”
In the playoffs for the first time since 2005, Desert Pines (13-3-3) will play for its first region title against Del Sol at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Favela assisted Garcia for a goal that went just inside the left post in the 65th minute to break a scoreless tie. A minute later, Favela took a pass from Sergio Gonzalez and scored on a breakaway to give the Jaguars a 2-0 cushion.
“It was just an adrenaline rush,” Favela said of the two quick goals. “We scored the first one and we weren’t going to back down; we were on the second one right away. I just tried to get the ball and beat the defense. After I beat the defense, I knew I was going to put it in.”
Junior midfielder Edwin Lopez scored off a deflection in the 74th minute for Tech (14-2-4), but Desert Pines was able to hold on.
The winner of Saturday’s region final will clinch an automatic berth in the state tournament, while the loser will be sent to a play-in game.
“This is what we get for being a big family,” Desert Pines coach Judas Perez said. “This is something real big that we’ve worked for, and we can finish it out.”
Del Sol 2, Silverado 1 — Juan Mendoza scored on a header off a corner kick from Jose Osorio in the 73rd minute to help the Dragons (13-4-2) eliminate the Skyhawks (8-5-4).
Del Sol, in the playoffs for the first time since 2007, will play for its first region title Saturday.
“It’s very emotional right now,” Dragons coach John Britt said. “It’s amazing what these kids have accomplished.”
Mendoza helped end the suspense for Del Sol, which had to sweat out a 3-1 victory on penalty kicks against Las Vegas in the quarterfinal round.
The sophomore defender said the idea of overtime was starting to creep into his head as the end to regulation neared, but he felt confident when called up with a chance to give his team the lead.
“I was really kind of scared to go up (from defense), but it was a great pass from Jose, and that’s what helped: his pass,” Mendoza said.
Britt added: “His job is to go up there on a corner kick. I almost said no because it was such a close game. (The header) was just a little touch, and it was beautiful.”
Mendoza’s goal broke a 1-1 tie after Del Sol’s Eric Beil scored on an assist from Roberto Perez and Silverado’s Dakota Hallaway scored on an assist from Devin Diego in the first half.