Originally Published: October 31, 2014 1:41 p.m.
Well, that was a sudden Halloween shock.
The Thursday night soccer match at Ken Lindley Field proved again, for the uber-enth time, that great soccer on a cool autumn night under the lights in Prescott is on heavy rotation. Phoenix beat Yavapai in a sudden-death overtime that took only moments to end as soon as it started, and pivot the drama and emotion that grows straight from the Lindley grass.
At the very least, I'd say Prescott and PV have a new adopted team to root for in a potential national tournament draw next month. Who in the chilly stands wouldn't want to see Phoenix again on that field? Hey, they've got Lindley mojo now and sat around our campfire on a Thursday night classic. We cool.
Pima, too, would be easy to root for in that bracket, if things should kick that way.
Thursday night showed that the playoffs are underway fer real. And playoffs on the pitch bring a fateful word this time of year: Unlucky.
Who can say how long Mike Pantalione will be on his coach's seat at the end of the Yavapai soccer bench? It's been 26 years of relentless excellence; a trophy case that was bling before bling was bling; and spreading Prescott around the country and world. There are soccer eyes around the world watching Yavapai, you better believe it.
The coach alluded to his tenure earlier this month at the Athletic Hall of Fame luncheon, in his induction speech for the 1990 team. When the time does ever come, he said from the podium, he'd like to see a Roughrider soccer alumnus on a short list of candidates. It'd be a primo job for a soccer coach.
And then there's Hugh Bell - the most dedicated, durable associate sports coach in Arizona. Go ahead, show me another.
I can't decide if it'd be more apt for Hugh and Mike to leave together, or, if there is a new coach named one day, who better than Hugh to keep the tradition by bridging to a new era? Fantastic!!
We wish them the best, and we tell that team that their neighbors are standing with the boys today and when training camp comes around in August. 2014 was an amazing team lads.
Follow Steve Stockmar on Twitter @CourierSports