6A boys soccer semifinals: Davis advances to first title game since 2012; Farmington loses in extra time
DRAPER — The Davis High boys soccer’s season has been up, down and now up again.
On April 7, the Darts were 7-0 and seemed set to cruise to the Region 1 championship and the No. 1 RPI ranking. A stretch of four losses in five games sunk Davis from the top of Region 1 to the middle of pack and consequently meant they missed out on a Region 1 title. But they’re still alive for the big prize.
No. 4 Davis beat No. 8 Mountain Ridge 2-0 Monday afternoon at Juan Diego Catholic High, booking a spot in Wednesday night’s championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium 10 years since their last boys soccer state championship.
“I think we stand a pretty good chance with Farmington or Herriman,” Davis defender Jerick Sparrow said.
Andrew Donigan’s first-half goal gave Davis (13-4) the 1-0 halftime lead, but arguably the play of equal or higher significance came in the second half on a Mountain Ridge set piece.
The ball appeared on its way into the net along the left-side goalpost until Sparrow flew in seemingly out of nowhere for a goal-line clearance that preserved the 1-0 lead.
“I was just running back trying to cover for someone because the ball was getting played into our half, then I saw the ball rolling towards the goal. I was like, ‘Oh shoot, I gotta go save that,'” Sparrow said. “Just one mistake could’ve made us tied and the game could’ve kept going, but luckily we held it out.”
As Mountain Ridge pressed up the field for a goal, a series of defensive clearances sent the ball to Davis’ Elliot Pehrson, who curled a long-range goal practically into an open net in the waning seconds — literally, the PA announcer was counting down from 10 — for the final scoring margin that doesn’t tell the story of how close the game felt.
The Darts have now won five straight games going into Wednesday’s title game after the poor run of form in April, which also coincided with a couple of starters being out of the lineup along with a part of the schedule that saw Davis face Weber (twice), Syracuse and a torrid Fremont team in a short span.
“Now that playoffs are here, I think we’re all ready and ready for the finals. We’ve just been more focused, more focused on the playoffs, just trying to get game-ready every time we have practice or right before the game we’re just trying to stay focused,” Sparrow said.
Davis also kept a clean sheet on a day when they were missing defender Nash Jensen due to suspension following his red card in last week’s quarterfinal win at Syracuse. He’s expected to return for the final on Wednesday.
HERRIMAN 2, FARMINGTON 1 (OT)
Herriman’s Grant Taylor scored a goal in the second period of extra time to give the No. 18 Mustangs a 2-1 win against No. 6 Farmington in the 6A semifinals Monday at Juan Diego.
The goal ended a controversial foul-filled contest that saw seven yellow cards and two red cards issued to Farmington (13-6). The referees were given a police escort off the field after the final whistle as Farmington fans booed the refs from the stands and school officials had to keep FHS players and coaches from going up to the referees afterward.
Herriman’s Landon Allen scored the first goal of the game on a penalty kick after a hotly disputed foul, then Farmington’s Cam Bingham leveled the foul fest in the 60th minute after a goalmouth scramble.
Tensions boiled over — the game was played in a fairly irritable state — in the first period of extra time. After already accruing a handful of yellow cards, Farmington got reduced to 10 players when Bingham was shown a straight red card for a hard foul.
A member of Farmington’s bench — it wasn’t clear if it was a coach or player — was then shown a straight red card for what appeared to be an irate verbal protest of the foul assessed to Bingham.
The Phoenix’s strategy turned from chasing a golden-goal winner to sitting back and playing for a penalty shootout, but that only lasted until the second period of extra time, which is when Landon Allen’s free kick found Taylor at the back post for the game-winning goal.