Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cutthroat boys drive hard for state berth

Big state-qualifying game is Thursday

It's a five-game post-season for The Community School boys' varsity soccer team in its drive for a berth in the championship game of the State 3A tournament Oct. 20 in Buhl.

But first, there's the major matter of the state-qualifying High Desert Soccer Conference seven-team tournament being played out this week.

Coach Richard Whitelaw's top-seeded Cutthroats (13-0-1 overall, 11-0-1 league) brought their unblemished 7-0-0 home record into Tuesday's second-round High Desert game against #4-seeded Wendell (6-6-1) at Browning Field, Elkhorn.

Sun Valley's 4-1 and 4-2 regular-season wins over Wendell encouraged Cutthroat fans to feel good about their boys advancing to host the championship game of the seven-team tournament Thursday, Oct. 11 at 4:30 p.m. at Browning Field.

Wendell blanked #5 Filer 2-0 in Saturday's first-round game, while #3 Bliss whitewashed #6 Declo 4-0 and #2 Gooding eliminated #7 Buhl by a close score of 2-1. Defending High Desert king Bliss (8-4-1) visited Gooding (10-4-0) in Tuesday's other tournament semi-final.

The winners of Community School-Wendell and Bliss-Gooding will play Thursday for this year's High Desert crown.

And the top two teams in the single elimination consolation bracket High Desert boys' tournament both earn berths in the State 3A tourney Oct. 18-20 at Buhl. So, Thursday's championship game is mainly about bragging rights and positioning yourself better for state.

For instance, Thursday's High Desert champion will draw a second-place team from either northern Idaho or the Boise area in the opening round at state. The losing team Thursday will draw the District 5 champion, very likely top-ranked 3A side Aberdeen (13-2).

Another reason the Cutthroats want to be on the winning end both Tuesday and Thursday this week is they could earn a state semi-final shot against McCall-Donnelly if they're in the top state bracket.

Whitelaw is thirsty for revenge against McCall, whose 4-3 opening-round victory over the Cutthroats at state last year relegated Sun Valley to playing for and eventually winning the State 3A consolation title.

Seeking its eighth state tournament berth in the last nine years, The Community School has won four state boys' soccer championships—back in 1976; in 1986 at Idaho Falls; in 1992 at Twin Falls; and also in 1999 at Idaho Falls.

Whitelaw's 2002 Cutthroat squad carried an unbeaten record into the state tournament at frosty Pocatello before falling in the semi-finals to Payette. The last Cutthroat visit to the state tournament in Buhl resulted in a second-place finish to Wood River in 2003.

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