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STATE CHAMPIONS: Ogden boys soccer kicks open the goal, beats Manti 4-1 for 3A title

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | May 11, 2024
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Ogden's Gabe Liptrap (7) smiles as he and teammates hold up the 3A state championship trophy on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Adam Jenks (6) heads in a goal after Manti keeper Branson Cherry, blue, missed stopping the cross during the 3A state championship match Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Ben Points, right, celebrates a goal with Adam Jenks (6) and Jace Rodriguez (17) during the 3A state championship match against Manti on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Levi Wilson (9) tracks the ball as Manti's Kyle Steinfeldt (4) trails during the 3A state championship match Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden defender Lincoln Barnes (5) yells while holding up the 3A state championship trophy on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Ben Points reacts after scoring the first goal of the 3A state championship match against Manti on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Taylor Pierce (23) takes a tumble with a Manti player during the 3A state championship match Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Harrison Hoskins (11) handles the ball against Manti during the 3A state championship match Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Brayden Wilson (2) leaps to stop the ball as teammate Luis Velasco (15) avoids contact during the 3A state championship match against Manti on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Gerardo Esquievel kicks the ball during the 3A state championship match against Manti on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Ben Points (8) tries to keep the ball from Manti's Taylor Dettinger (3) during the 3A state championship match Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Taylor Pierce, left, battles Manti's James Dettinger (2) for the ball during the 3A state championship match Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Jace Rodriguez extends to kick the ball during the 3A state championship match against Manti on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Matt Browning (12) tries to maneuver past Manti's Rhett Olson during the 3A state championship match Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Manti keeper Branson Cherry tries to collect an Ogden shot during the 3A state championship match Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden's Taylor Pierce controls the ball during the 3A state championship match against Manti on Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.
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Ogden students cheer after the Tigers won the 3A state championship Saturday, May 11, 2024, at America First Field in Sandy.

SANDY — No. 1 Manti entered championship Saturday with 14 shutouts on its defensive ledger, fourth-most in one season in UHSAA boys soccer history. The Templars’ four goals allowed in 17 games stood as the third-fewest in one season.

So although No. 3 Ogden pushed the ball into Manti’s side of the field for most of the first half, the Tigers pressed a bit, senior Ben Points said, and took a 0-0 score into halftime in the 3A state title match at America First Field.

But two minutes after halftime, Points punched in a goal on an assist from Adam Jenks.

In the 57th minute, Jace Rodriguez dispossessed a Manti player near midfield with a tough slide tackle, took the ball up the right side and sent a booming cross to the goal.

The ball cleared the outstretched arms of leaping Manti keeper Branson Cherry and Jenks was in flight, heading it in to get Ogden ahead 2-0.

“Someone had to make a big move and finish the game off, and if I wanted to be the one to be known for it, then I had to go,” Rodriguez said. “I made a move, put it in the box and Adam Jenks got to it.”

A mere four minutes later, Rodriguez played the ball from midfield to Harrison Hoskins, got it back from Hoskins in the middle and kept it alive through traffic, flicking another goal past a diving keeper with his right foot to make it 3-0.

Rodriguez completed a backflip toward Ogden’s student section, then shrugged. The rout was on.

“I hit the backflip, came over here and hit a little Jordan shrug to let the crowd know we just got our state ring,” he said, referencing Michael Jordan’s famous reaction from the 1992 NBA Finals.

The Tigers kept paws on the gas from there and took a 4-1 victory, claiming the program’s first state championship since 2005 and its fourth overall after several deep-run heartbreaks in recent seasons — and doubling Manti’s goals allowed for the season in the process.

“It’s just amazing because this program’s been through blood, sweat and tears,” Points said. “Our coaches always drill it into us to be a family and it just felt like all that work just paid off.”

The first-half deadlock belied how much Ogden (15-3) had controlled the game. Outside of a shot Manti sent over the goal in the first minute after kickoff, the Tigers dominated possession in Manti’s third of the field. The Tigers had a 3-0 advantage in shots on goal and 7-1 in corner kicks before halftime.

“We needed to play one-touch, two-touch ball,” Points said. “We were doing too much. Once we started playing for each other, it just opened up and we scored four instantly.”

Ogden coach Todd Scott said halftime was helpful to refocus.

“We told the boys, we possess, let them chase, and then we found an opening in the attack and they got it done,” Scott said. “I think my boys were just nervous … it wasn’t like they didn’t have the intensity, we just had to come back and play our game.”

On Points’ goal out of the break, Luis Velasco secured a goal kick near midfield and immediately played it forward. Jenks gave a simple tap to Points, who touched once to his right leg and fired it in.

“We had a lot of chances … but once we got that first one, we knew that we could just keep going,” Points said.

Manti (17-1) couldn’t hold Ogden back over the six minutes following Rodriguez’s shrug. Barely one minute later, the Tigers scored a goal the referee disallowed, ruling that Ogden’s Taylor Pierce committed a foul during a joust with the keeper for a jump ball at the goal mouth.

Pierce then missed a rebound just high after a Hoskins shot slammed off the keeper, and yet another Ogden shot went off the right post.

Pierce finally got his goal to cap the six-minute frenzy when Hoskins crossed to him near the PK spot and Pierce redirected with a swinging right foot, sneaking a grounder inside the left post for a 4-0 lead.

With many reserves on the field, Ogden missed a few more shot attempts before Manti avoided a shutout with a goal in the 78th minute. It was a rare shot on goal for the Templars, who didn’t get its first until the 48th minute when Tigers keeper Xavier Peregrina reached high for an attempt near the crossbar.

“Xavier’s been amazing and we knew that we can trust him, so we just played out of the back, trusted him and knew we weren’t going to give up shots because of how strong we are,” Rodriguez said.

Ogden’s previous boys soccer state championships came in 2000, 2002 and 2005.

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