'Tight-knit' Bears are section soccer champions
Mount Shasta High School soccer players, coaches and fans got together for a joyous celebration on the upper field at Shastice Park after the Bears won Saturday's Northern Section Fall Soccer championship match, 3-1.
A cold north wind continued to blow as senior Weston Stroud and junior Tanner Lujan scored late second half goals that, respectively, gave the Bears the lead and gave them some breathing room.
Players showered head coach Bradly Robinson with a bucket of water as they crossed the field to gather in front of their fans for the championship and second place plaque presentations.
The Bears were greeted by fans with shouts of "We love you Bears" and "We're proud of you."
Robinson said it was fitting that the Shasta Cascade League champion Bears and SCL runnerup Tulelake, the section's No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, met for the championship.
Mount Shasta goalie Morgan Owens made several saves that protected a 1-0 lead in the second half and later prevented Tulelake from taking the lead.
Freshman Ryan Hering scored on a penalty kick to put the Bears on top in the first half.
After Tulelake tied it on a penalty kick in the second half, the Bears' offense came to life.
"We've been knocked out (of the playoffs) early in the past," said Mount Shasta sweeper Wesley Navarre. "To win it all senior year is amazing. It was a good match. Tulelake has great forwards, but we're such a tight-knit group. It was a great season."
"Defense wins championships," said Robinson, who praised the play of defenders Navarre, Colin Paisley, Jaden Anderson, Garrett Bryan and stoppers Aron Lucas and Jarrod Althaus-Cressman. "They hung tough," the coach said.
"We all worked so hard to keep it together and stay together as a team," said sophomore striker Lauren Frost after the Bears gathered for a team photograph with their championship plaque. "It's crazy. It's a lot to take in."
"I'm so happy," said senior striker Carlos Lopez. "Everybody worked their way up to make it happen."
The Bears won their seventh league title in the past eight years with a 13-0-1 record; the only blemish a 2-2 tie at Tulelake in the final regular season match.
Mount Shasta's overall record is less clearcut. It's listed as 17-0-1 on the maxpreps website, although they did win three other matches and lost one to Redding Christian in a mid-September tournament at Redding Christian. Robinson said those four scores were removed from the record for postseason seeding purposes because they weren't full-length matches.
After a first round playoff bye, the Bears reached the section championship round by defeating Redding Christian in Thursday's semifinal, 1-0, while Tulelake was also winning its semifinal 1-0 over Paradise Adventist Academy.