Saturday was for the Westside.
Under a gray sky and a lightly falling rain, the Cabrillo boys’ soccer team made history, ending a 25-year drought for the Jaguars by winning the school’s first-ever postseason championship. They did it in style and with class, besting Westview from San Diego to claim the CIF State Division II championship, 6-2.
“This means everything to us,” said sophomore Arnold Giron, who had a hat trick in the game. “It means everything because we’re not representing ourselves, we’re representing Cabrillo.”
After a heartbreaking, nailbiting 1-0 loss in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship, the Jags decided to save their fans the suspense in the state tournament, winning the three games by a combined score of 17-2.
On Saturday, it was obvious from the first touch that they were destined to make history. In the sixth minute, Brayan Valenzuela fed a perfect through ball to Eduardo Mosqueda, who crossed it to Leonardo Corona for the game’s first score. Two minutes later, Jonny Riquer’s through ball slipped between three Westview defenders and found Jesus Navarrete, who buried it with a class finish.
Ten minutes later, the Jags were striking again, as Mosqueda pushed a ball ahead to Giron, who made it 3-0 Cabrillo after just 18 minutes of play. Westview would get one back a few minutes later, but the Jaguars dropped the hammer early in the second half as Giron scored his second and third goals in the 45th and 50th minutes.
“I think we have the best forward in the state in Arnold,” said Jaguars coach Pat Noyes. Giron ran his postseason scoring total to 11 goals in seven playoff games.
At that point, with the Jaguars up 5-1, the crowd could feel it, the players were making plans to dump a bucket of Gatorade on Noyes, and the rain started to fall in earnest. But the scoring wasn’t over yet, even as Noyes subbed his starters out. Ivan Adrover crossed a ball in to Graddy Kayembe to make it 6-1; Westview would score just before the end of the game on a penalty kick.
After the ref blew the whistle, the fans went crazy and the players began dancing and singing on the field together. Noyes has been waiting 20 years for a season like this, and he relished raising the championship plaque for the large home crowd, and the Gatorade bath.
“We’ve been a doormat here for years,” said Noyes. “This has been amazing. Look at this crowd, look at the way this city supported us, the school district and our administration. It’s been amazing from top to bottom. The kids played with such pride, and such passion.”
Corona said the team was happy with how they’d played to that point in the season, setting new program records for wins and shutouts, and making the school’s first-ever appearance in the CIF-SS championship and State Tournament. But he said the season wouldn’t have ended properly without a trophy after the Jaguars finished as runner-ups in the Moore League and the CIF-SS.
“When we lost my mom was still proud,” said Corona. “But now we’re both proud.”
Corona, Giron, and the rest of the team agreed that dumping the ice on Noyes was the best part of the day.
“He deserves it the most,” said Corona. “He’s been here the longest, he’s worked the hardest.”
“This was for him,” said Giron. “We had to give that to him. He’s our family, these guys are all my family.”
As for Noyes, once the crowd had dispersed he was ready to get back to work to start on next year’s season.
“I’ve got a ton of young, really good soccer players,” said Noyes. “I can’t wait to get started again next week.”