It looked as if Mission Viejo and Santa Barbara high schools were going to be the only teams, boys or girls, to share a Southern Section championship in soccer Saturday night.
The teams scored first-half goals within seconds of each other in the boys’ 3-A championship game at Gahr High School in Cerritos before 850 spectators.
But after the early outburst, the teams went on to play a scoreless second half.
When it seemed Santa Barbara had accepted a co-championship, the Diablos hadn’t.
Seven minutes into the second and final overtime period with a tie just three minutes away, Mission Viejo’s leading scorer, halfback Joe-Max Moore, was fouled inside the Dons’ penalty box.
He took the penalty kick and whipped it to the right past goalie Garrett Smith to give Mission Viejo (25-1-3) a 2-1 victory and the first soccer championship in school history.
“I just picked a spot and hit it,” Moore said.
The Diablos had their defense to thank for this victory.
In the first half Mission Viejo defenders blocked three Santa Barbara scoring attempts. The most spectacular save came 11 minutes into the match when fullback Carl Stoehr took over the net to stop a header that had beaten goalie Preston Cubel.
“My backline played an outstanding game,” Diablo Coach Cal Foster said. “I told the kids going in we couldn’t make any mistakes defensively and that we had to play a strong defensive game.”
Foster never once thought the game would end in a tie.
“I told the kids going into overtime that we were in better shape, that we had dominated the second half, that (Santa Barbara) looked tired and if we kept playing the way we were, good things would happen.”
Santa Barbara finished 21-2-6.
Mission Viejo scored first about 7 minutes into the match. Fullback Todd Patrick kicked a long high ball from behind midfield. Andy Wortrich met it in the goalie box with a sliding kick that skittered by Santa Barbara goalie Garrett Smith for Wortrich’s 14th goal of the season.
The Dons came right back. On the very next possession, Santa Barbara’s George Rios went high in the air for a side volley kick to the left corner of the goal that beat Cubel.