The four seniors on Sugar-Salem’s boys’ soccer team don’t know what it’s like to lose a district championship. The Diggers won their fourth straight title Wednesday, winning 1-0 over Teton in Driggs after falling 2-1 to Teton in their game with the Timberwolves last week.
Devin Peterson hit the Diggers’ goal halfway through the first half on a header off of a corner kick.
“Then it was just a battle,” Sugar-Salem coach Glenn Dayley said. “We had the wind the first half. We were hoping to get a couple of goals because the wind was going pretty good.”
Both teams fought for possession in the second half.
“We were trying to hang on and they were trying to get one,” Dayley said. “We were just doing a lot on defense and clearing the ball. We had a couple of good opportunities but never could quite finish. They had a couple of decent chances. They started shooting from far out so we were able to keep them from getting one in close.”
One defensive strategy Sugar-Salem employed to stop Teton was double and triple teaming the ball. In fact, Landon Bigham’s entire defensive assignment was to help out on the ball. Those double teams led to steals in each half.
Both teams ended the game exhausted.
The Diggers will play the winner of Saturday’s state play-in game between the second-place team in District 3 and the third-place team in District 4. That game is Thursday at noon at the Fields at Real Life in Post Falls.
The Diggers hope their experience in playing three straight days to the north earlier this season will prepare them for three straight days at state.
“We’re just going to give it another shot,” Dayley said. “We keep getting there but we never quite bring home the big trophy. We love getting there and playing but we would love to bring that state championship trophy home. I think these boys are just happy to ride this bus as long as it keeps driving.”
Sugar-Salem’s girls team fell 1-0 in a windy game in Driggs against Teton.
The Timberwolves scored their goal with about 15 minutes left in the game.
Sugar-Salem had the wind at its back in the first half and, despite double-digit shots on goal, the Diggers weren’t able to connect the ball with the net.
“We created a lot of really good chances and their keeper made a couple of really good saves and we just weren’t quite able to put them in,” Sugar-Salem head coach Scott Terry said.
Terry said the Timberwolves had maybe three shots on goal. The Diggers had at least that many just in the second half despite going against the wind.
“Honestly, our defense played good the entire game,” Terry said. “They only had the one good chance and they put it away. Unfortunately, that’s just soccer sometimes.”
The Diggers will play American Falls in a state play-in game Saturday in Blackfoot. Sugar-Salem played American Falls in August and September winning 6-1 and 7-1. American Falls has played well in stretches this season including tying 11-3-1 Marsh Valley, one of only three teams to beat Sugar-Salem.