Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Cutthroat boys ready for Bliss

Boys? soccer showdown for state

Brimming with confidence, Community School soccer coach Richard Whitelaw likes making populist pronouncements like "we'll play anybody, anytime," or, "tell me who we're playing and we'll turn up." And who can blame him?

His second-ranked Cutthroats (14-1-1, 9-1-1 home) haven't been beaten since the first game of the 2006 prep soccer season in late August, 4-2 to 5A Twin Falls. There was a 1-1 tie to Bliss Sept. 15 and the rest have been Cutthroat victories.

Whitelaw's #2-seeded Cutthroats, averaging six goals a game to date, started well in this week's Fourth District 3A tournament with 10-1 and 10-1 home victories over #7 Declo and #3 Wendell respectively.

The lopsided outcomes set up today's eagerly awaited championship game clash against top-ranked Bliss (13-0-1) at 4:30 p.m. on the Bliss field—site of last year's thrilling 3-2 (OT) Cutthroat win over top-seeded and previously unbeaten Bliss in the same scenario and situation.

Bliss defeated Gooding 8-2 Monday to advance into the championship game. The loser of today's Bliss-Community School match waits until Saturday, Oct. 14 to host a loser-out game to determine the other State 3A tourney berth from the Fourth District ranks.

"It should be a cracking good close game," said Whitelaw, eager for his boys to challenge Bliss' Bears.

What may be the telling difference over 12 months is that the Cutthroats are much improved over last season and are considered stronger contenders this time around.

And, although today's game guarantees the winner a berth in the eight-team State 3A tourney Oct. 19 in Meridian, there is a disclaimer involved.

Today's champion draws the Fifth District winner—likely #3-ranked American Falls (12-1)—in the first round of the State 3A meet, while this district's runner-up goes against the Third District champion in the first round at state. That could be #5-ranked 2005 state runner-up McCall-Donnelly (8-6), Weiser or Homedale.

You could make an argument that the district champion, Bliss or Community School, will have the tougher first-round match-up this year than the district runner-up. But you could also make an argument that any team is a tough challenge at state.

As Whitelaw, who has endured his share of first-round surprises at state, said, "..... anybody, anytime."

Declo and Wendell have certainly become believers.

The high-powered Cutthroats scored two goals in the first 54 seconds and four goals in the first 11 minutes of Saturday's 10-1 rout over Declo at Browning Field. Whitelaw played his JV after the half.

"Man of the Match" Travis Stone (29 goals) scored his fourth three-goal "hat trick" of the season in the first 15 minutes. Other Sun Valley scorers were Caleb Sonneland (2), Alden Remington (2), Tanner Flanigan, Ryon Campbell and Eddy Albarran.

Declo freshman Klint Metcalf prevented the Cutthroats from posting their seventh shutout of the season with a goal in the 57th minute.

On Monday, the game against Wendell started differently but ended exactly the same. The Trojans held the Cutthroats to a 3-0 lead at half, but the explosive Sun Valley boys tallied six goals in the first nine minutes after half.

Stone (50 goals career) had another hat trick while Sonneland (2), Flanigan (2), Remington, Connor Brown and Mac Whittington were the other Cutthroat scorers. "Man of the Match" was Ryon Campbell.

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