There was very little celebration coming from the Douglas Bulldogs Thursday night after beating the Palo Verde Titans, 9-3, for their their third consecutive Gila Region soccer championship.
The reason for the small celebration? They’re not done yet.
The win secures Douglas, 9-0 overall, 5-0 in conference, 4-0 in region, and currently the No. 1 4A team in the state, a spot in the upcoming post season playoffs and most likely a first round bye, followed by a home playoff game.
“This feels really, really good,” Douglas’ coach Alfonso Romero said after the match was over. “When you’re planning your season and you know you have two Gila Region championships, you begin thinking is it possible to get another one? These kids have put in a lot of work along with the coaches Alfredo Romero, Victor Ramos and myself, it’s a blessing, it feels really, really good.”
Miguel Sosa, Adrian Arciniega and Jorge Peralta each scored two goals for Douglas Thursday.
Daniel Leyva got the Bulldogs on the board, first scoring a goal less than five minutes into the match.
Palo Verde scored three minutes later, tying the match at 1, becoming only the second team this regular season to score against the Bulldog defense.
Sixteen minutes later, Sosa scored, sparking goals from Arciniega and Konnor Cormier the next four minutes as Douglas’ lead quickly increased to 4-1. With just over eight minutes before halftime, Oscar Valenzuela scored, giving the Bulldogs a 5-1 lead at the intermission.
Acriniega and Sosa scored in the second half, pushing Douglas to a 7-1 lead. Peralta came off the bench to score the first of his two goals, the first gave the Bulldogs an 8-1 edge. Palo Verde then scored, Peralta then scored again, increasing Douglas’ lead to 9-2.
Palo Verde’s final goal of the night came off a penalty kick, which bounced off Bulldog goalie Jonathan Breton’s body and into the net.
Douglas coaches have the Bulldogs outshooting Palo Verde 20-6 with Loreto recording three saves.
Joaquin Escalante, Jesus Morales, Brian Archer, and Valenzuela all had assists on some of the goals scored Thursday.
Last year the championship was clinched on the road. Coach Romero said to be able to win the conference championship at home was special, it’s just unfortunate more fans did not attend the match, but he understands the cold weather affected the attendance.
“We know we have a lot of support from the community,” he said. “We see it; we feel it.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 28 the Bulldogs were in Rio Rico posting a 3-0 win. All three goals came in the second half as Joaquin Escalante had two and Sosa one.
The Bulldogs close out the regular season next week with road matches Monday at Canyon Del Oro, Tuesday at Pueblo, and Thursday at home against Cienega on what will be Senior Night for 14 Bulldogs playing their last home match before the playoffs.
After winning the regional championship Thursday, the words from former coach Ken Cormier, “For whatsoever you do, do it with all your heart,” were repeated by all the players and coaches.