Blackfoot edges Hillcrest in High Country Conference play

Ismael Cortes of the Blackfoot Broncos looks to control the ball in an earlier game in High Country Conference play. Cortez was instrumental in Blackfoot’s win over Hillcrest Wednesday afternoon.

IDAHO FALLS – The Blackfoot Broncos boys’ soccer team has been looking for a big win all season long.

Not only did they need a win over the team that has held the top spot in the High Country Conference all season long in Hillcrest, they needed a little help from Shelley in order to move up the rankings and still have a chance at the second seed in the upcoming district tournament.

The Broncos got both things on Wednesday afternoon as the Shelley Russets helped out by beating the Skyline Grizzlies 1-0. The Broncos then helped themselves with an important, come-from-behind win over the Hillcrest Knights by the final of 3-2.

That brought the standings much closer together and presents some interesting scenarios that will have a lot of teams scoreboard watching over the weekend to see how things will play out before the district tournament begins the end of next week.

Hillcrest remains at the top of things, with Idaho Falls in second, but the important thing is that Blackfoot has caught the Tigers with five wins in conference play. The Tigers have a tie, which has them a half game ahead of the Broncos.

The Tigers have two games remaining and the Broncos have one game left. If the Broncos win their game on Monday night, senior night, over Shelley, that will give them six wins and an edge in the conference standings if, and only if, Idaho Falls loses its final two game of the year. If that plays out, the Broncos will have earned the second seed, something that seemed far away just a couple of weeks ago.

The Broncos fell behind the Knights in the first half by the score of 2-0, but it was a totally different team that showed up for the second half of play.

This Broncos team went on the offensive and they battled for each and every ball and were coming out with the advantage. They were quick and fast and they were shooting the ball on goal with a mindset that they were not going to lose the game. They came after the Knights and flooded the box and finally a shot went in that cut the lead to 2-1 in favor of the Knights. The big thing was that you could almost feel the change in the attitude of the Broncos and with the momentum on their side, they became relentless in their attack on the Hillcrest goal keeper.

The second half became a game of trying to keep the Broncos out of the offensive end of the field, but they were not very successful in that endeavor. The Broncos played like a team possessed with showing the world just how good they can be and they were being successful in their attack. The more that the Broncos pressed the action, the more confidence they began playing with and then suddenly, a second goal got by the Hillcrest goal keeper and the game was all tied up at two goals each.

That is when the Broncos seemed to take control of the action.

The Broncos seemed to win every 50-50 ball and they attacked like there was no tomorrow. They didn’t make every shot, far from it, but they got the most shots on goal in the final 10 minutes of the game and when they got the chance at a rebound goal in the late stages it was a clean shot on goal that went wide to the left of the goal keeper and into the back of the net for the lead at 3-2.

While the bench area and the Broncos fans went wild, the other side of the field was silent as if they knew it was a different Broncos team that was on the field. This was a team that was going to win and there was no doubt about it.

This team wanted the ball and they wanted the win and they went about battling even harder for every ball and they were winning those little battles on their way to winning the war. This was the team that had shown flashes of how good they could be showing how good they are.

When the final whistle blew, ending the contest, the Broncos had gotten themselves right back into the race for a top seed in the upcoming district tournament. Win on Monday night and they will clinch no worse than the third seed. Win on Monday night and have Idaho Falls lose its final two games and they can slip into the number two seed for the district tournament. In either case, the game against Hillcrest was as important a game as the Broncos have played all season.

With the win, the Broncos find themselves at 5-4 in conference play, 5-7 overall, and they have one game in the regular season remaining, Monday night against Shelley.

Senior Night is upon us with the kickoff scheduled for 7 p.m. with senior night ceremonies taking place just before kickoff.