Tim Cea and the Littlerock High boys’ soccer team have risen from the depths fast enough to get the bends.
The Lobos, traditionally a Golden League doormat, tied for the Golden League title last week. Cea, who the previous two seasons labored on teams so dismal that opposing starters were often rested, has 24 goals.
A senior midfielder and forward who combines speed and ball-handling skills, Cea (pronounced SEE-ah) is enjoying this season after paying his dues. Littlerock travels to Saugus today for a Southern Section Division II wild-card match.
“The last couple of years we’d lose a close game and people would get frustrated and go out and get in trouble,” Cea said. “Then they’d quit.”
This season, greater dedication and maturity by a nucleus of players have boosted Littlerock (13-4-4) to new heights. The Lobos could have clinched the league title outright with a victory at Quartz Hill last Friday, but had to rally from a 2-0 halftime deficit to pull out a tie.
“We just haven’t played very many big games and we were nervous,” Cea said. “But in the second half we calmed down. I think that game will help us in the playoffs as far as handling pressure.”
When Cea collects the ball and turns on the afterburners, it’s opposing defenders who feel the heat.
“It’s very frustrating to try and defend him,” Highland Coach Lem Galvao said.
A club soccer player in Simi Valley, Cea moved to the Antelope Valley when he was 14. After playing basketball as a Littlerock freshman, he was talked into trying out for soccer as a sophomore and became a varsity starter.
Two years later, the Lobos are finally on the prowl, in large part thanks to Cea.