CENTRAL POINT — Crater freshman Trevor Wilkerson literally ran in the go-ahead goal and the Comets held off Thurston from there for a 2-1 victory that secured the school’s first boys soccer conference title on Saturday.
With the score tied at 1-all, Cooper Hopkins sent a shot toward the goal that was deflected but the hard-charging Wilkerson ran through with the ball on his body and escorted it into the net in the 59th minute.
“It was the greatest thing ever because he just turned and looked at the sidelines like, ‘Did I just score?’” said Crater head coach Jason Tester.
“We beefed up the defense a little bit with a couple extra guys after that and held them off as we just watched that clock slowly tick off,” he added.
With the win, Crater improved to 7-3-3 overall and shared the MWL crown with Springfield (9-5-1), which also finished with a 4-1-1 conference record. For Class 5A state playoff purposes, the Comets will get the MWL’s No. 1 seed to state as the league champion thanks to a head-to-head tiebreaker earned in a 1-0 win last Saturday over the Millers.
“It was a giant celebration after the game,” Tester said of securing a first title for Crater. “I’m super stoked. We’ve been grinding for five solid years to put this team where it’s at and the boys have never hung their heads. It all pays off because here we are.”
Nikhil Joseph scored in the 19th minute on a header following a corner kick by Nevan Quirke to give the Comets an early lead, but Thurston (4-8-2, 2-4) was able to score an equalizer early in the second half by Yurem Martinez.
ALOHA 1, NORTH MEDFORD 0: At Aloha, North Medford was able to apply plenty of pressure but the No. 22-seeded Black Tornado couldn’t get the bounces to go its way in a first-round loss in the Class 6A state playoffs.
Colson Rumrey and Prince Thompson each provided quality chances for North Medford (7-6-2), which saw two clearances off the goal line toward the end of the first half.
Christian Silva Tapia scored about 25 minutes into the match for 11th-seeded Aloha (10-2-3).
ASHLAND 2, SPRINGFIELD 2: At Springfield, junior forward Cash Cota scored his second goal of the game with 10 minutes to go, allowing Ashland to tie things up and extend its unbeaten run heading into the 5A state playoffs.
Ashland (5-3-4, 3-0-3 MWL), which is unbeaten in its last six games, fell behind twice to Springfield (9-5-1, 4-1-1), which ended up sharing the MWL title with Crater following Saturday’s action.
The Millers took a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute, but the Grizzlies pulled even when Luis Uhtoff was fouled in the box, resulting in Cota successfully converting from the penalty spot.
Springfield retook the lead midway through the second half on a shot that Ashland keeper Aiden Espinoza nearly made a great save on. Cota, however, had the answer again, taking a pass from Silas Reinkensmeyer and slotting a shot in at the far post.
Espinoza finished with five saves.
EAGLE POINT 4, CHURCHILL 1: At Eagle Point, Moses Angel scored twice as Eagle Point shook off an early 1-0 deficit to wrap up its season with a Midwestern League victory.
David Ventura-Padilla scored for Churchill (6-9, 2-4 MWL) in the 12th minute but Allan Ramirez was able to tie it in the 39th on a scramble in the box off a corner kick for the Eagles (5-5-2, 2-2-2).
Angel’s first goal came in the 45th minute on an assist by Jameson Struble, and was followed in the 56th by a 40-yard free kick for a goal by Andre Ramirez. Angel cleaned up another scramble in the box in the 77th minute.
PHOENIX 4, COTTAGE GROVE 1: At Phoenix, Jenner Selden scored twice as Phoenix stormed out to an early lead and controlled the action in the Class 4A play-in contest.
The Pirates (7-6-1), who finished runner-up in the Skyline Conference, will open the 4A state playoffs on the road Tuesday against an opponent to be determined.
Selden scored in the 12th minute following a cross from Antonio Camargo, who netted his own goal two minutes later off a long ball from Daniel Palomino.
Selden scored in the final minute of the first half to make it 3-0 off an assist by Isai Pinon.
Tanner Norris scored off another assist by Pinon in the 62nd minute, and Cottage Grove avoided a shutout with a goal in the 79th minute.
Crater’s Cooper Hopkins, shown in action at right earlier this season, helped set the stage for the go-ahead goal Saturday after his deflected shot was run onto by Trevor Wilkerson to net a 2-1 win. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]