Naomi Smalls musically argues “every day is leg day.”
But not Saturday. Not for the Idaho Falls boys soccer team.
For those 22 Tigers, Saturday, October 19, 2019 is just another polish the district championship trophy day.
With a 1-0 win over the vaunted Knights at Hillcrest High School on Wednesday afternoon, the Idaho Falls Tigers won the 4A District 6 championship, earned the district’s top seed at next week’s state tournament, and broke a five-year winless streak against Hillcrest.
What’s more, I.F. won’t have to play for second place Saturday morning in the winner-to-state, loser-out game.
This Saturday is a day of rest.
“Hillcrest has always been No. 1, and in the past we sometimes came and played timidly, playing not to get beat,” Idaho Falls senior James Harris said. “But we didn’t do that today, or this season really, and gave it out all. Now we’re going to state, and no Saturday game.”
The Tigers hadn’t beaten the Knights in any match since Sept. 4, 2014.
Hillcrest had indeed dominated eastern Idaho boys soccer in the memory all 16 seniors on the Idaho Falls roster, winning three consecutive district titles, and taking second at the 2018 4A state championships.
This season, however, the two teams played to a scoreless draw in one match, and each school claimed a 1-0 decision in the other matches.
With Wednesday’s win, Idaho Falls won the best of 3 series, and celebrated their championship on Sunnyside Road.
“Oh man, I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” senior keeper Jake Christofferson said. “This is the kind of thing you never forget.”
The match’s lone goal came in the 67th minute when Harris found teammate Junior Soto in front of the goal, and Soto pounded the ball into the right corner with his left foot.
The rest of the match was a defensive exhibition, with neither team converting runs or effectively setting up any kind of set piece play.
Hillcrest senior Jaxon Keller nearly converted for the tie in the 88th minute on a header, but the try went just wide right.
“We’re working really well as a team right now,” Soto said. “Nobody believed we could do it. Even the paper said we were on the outside. But we proved them all wrong today.”
Idaho Falls (10-3-3) will play next Thursday at Brothers Park in Caldwell
Hillcrest (14-3-1) will host Skyline on Saturday at 11 a.m. with the winner earning District 6's second state berth and a 2 p.m. Thursday match in Caldwell.