Raise your hand if you think the most entertaining State 3A boys’ soccer tournament championship game match-up Saturday, Oct. 25 in Twin Falls would pit the Community School Cutthroats against Weiser’s Wolverines.
Or maybe it’s the Community School in a rematch with the Wendell Trojans. The teams provided a classic game for soccer aficionados Oct. 15 that the Cutthroats won 1-0 for their first High Desert Soccer Conference title since 2007.
Both scenarios are possible when the eight-team State 3A tournament gets underway Thursday, Oct. 23 at SunWay Soccer Complex in Twin Falls.
Either way, you’d want the high-octane attack and smothering defense of the Cutthroats there in the title game, since they haven’t been in the state tournament championship since falling 4-1 to Hailey’s Wood River High School way back in the 2003 meet at Buhl.
And they’re operating on all cylinders at this crucial stage.
Coach Richard Whitelaw is taking his Cutthroats to their 26th state soccer tournament. They last won the title for Whitelaw in 1999 by a 3-1 score over Middleton in Idaho Falls, back when you qualified via round robin in the Idaho Youth Soccer Association World Cup format.
They also won state titles in 1992 and 1986, and way back in the ancient days of 1976.
Recently, the Cutthroats have won the State 3A consolation trophy in three of their last four state trips dating back to 2006. They missed out last year with a 6-1 loss to Wendell in that consolation championship game.
Pre-tournament favorite this year is last year’s state runner-up Weiser (15-2-1), having scored 112 goals and yielded just 21 in 18 games. The Wolverines, seeking their first state championship since 2000, are unbeaten in Idaho and have lost only to Ontario (Ore.) 6-2 and 3-2.
Six teams return from last fall’s state tournament won by Gooding 1-1 (4-2 kicks) over Weiser. Four of the state qualifiers have won state—Weiser, Teton (2006), Bonners Ferry (2007) and Wendell (2010).
Whitelaw’s Cutthroats (14-3-1) have outscored opponents 97-12 (11 shutouts) and are unbeaten in their last eight contests (7-0-1) with a 40-1 scoring edge down that blistering homestretch.
Their ball control and attacking skills have been matched only by an unyielding defense spearheaded by senior captain Jack Swanson. Junior Jay Fitzgerald (32 goals) leads the offensive charge.
Here is the state schedule:
Thursday, Oct. 23: At 11 a.m., Weiser (15-2-1) vs. eastern Idaho champion American Falls (10-1-4) and Bonners Ferry (11-5-1) vs. Wendell (12-1-3). At 2 p.m., Sugar-Salem of Sugar City (16-0-1) vs. Fruitland (8-10-1) and the Community School (14-3-1) vs. Teton (8-5-2).
Fruitland and Teton were play-in winners, Fruitland over Timberlake and Teton beating Aberdeen.
Championship game is Saturday at 12 noon at SunWay Complex.