A missed scoring opportunity early in the second half with his team holding a one-goal lead sent Cimarron-Memorial boys soccer coach Mark Bailey digging through his bag looking for painkillers.
“I need ibuprofen,” Bailey said. “I think I just had an aneurysm.”
It turns out the cure for what ailed Bailey was an insurance goal. Ernan Hernandez scored his first of two goals five minutes later, and the Spartans tacked on two more scores to beat Legacy 4-0 in the Sunset Region final at Bettye Wilson Park.
“It’s huge,” Bailey said of the first insurance goal. “At 2-0 in a game that you’re controlling, they have to change. They have to absolutely change. They have to go all out. And once we get the third, then it feels like it’s over at that point.”
Hernandez controlled a long pass from Miguel Rubio and beat the goalkeeper inside the left post in the 51st minute to make it 2-0.
Though Cimarron (18-3-5) was controlling the possession at that point, Legacy (9-10-4) was hanging around, and Hernandez said the second goal eased the tension.
“They were pressuring us when we had 1-0,” Hernandez said. “When I scored the second one, we got a little bit more confident. We moved the ball around more, made them chase after it. And we got a couple more goals in, and from there, we dominated the whole game.”
Cimarron goalkeeper Richard Crews sent a ball ahead to Carlo Quesada, and he put a left-footed shot into the upper left corner to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead with 14 minutes to play.
Hernendez was able to settle a corner kick from Dresdan Quackenbush and score four minutes later to play for the final margin.
Cimarron controlled possession, especially in the second half. For the game, the Spartans outshot Legacy 16-4.
“We did exactly what we wanted,” Bailey said. “We wanted to possess it, we wanted to stay calm with the ball. And I’ve said all year, that defense carries us.”
Crews recorded his eighth shutout of the season, but he didn’t have to do much work, as he had only one save. Defenders Luis Gallardo, Roberto Elicerio, Omar Garcia and Miguel Rodriguez kept Legacy from getting many offensive opportunities. And Bailey praised Rubio for helping to keep the team calm.
“I also can’t say enough about our sophomore midfielder, Miguel Rubio,” Bailey said. “Everything goes through him. Everything. And he carries us, especially when things get a little messy, which they did at the end of that first half. For about 15 minutes, it seemed like they kept putting our backs against the wall, and he just keeps it calm and together.”
It was the first region title for the Spartans, who lost in the Sunset final the last two seasons. Now Cimarron moves on to the Division I state tournament next week in Reno.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Hernandez said. “We worked hard for it. Hopefully in Reno we do well and bring back a trophy.”