Badgers upset Cortez in penalty-kick shootout, head to Final Four
Prep Boys Soccer
PHOENIX — The Prescott boys soccer team is headed to the 4A state tournament’s Final Four for the first time in program history after upsetting defending state runner-up Cortez, 5-3, on penalty kicks following two overtimes Tuesday, Feb. 12.
Tied 4-4 at the end of the second overtime, Cade Tutrone, Fernando Rodriguez, Bryant Chivara, Edgar Martinez and Brayden Nelson scored in the penalty kick round. No. 3-seeded Cortez converted only three of its shots, and Prescott goalie Ryan Peeples made a crucial save to preserve the win.
In only his second season as Prescott coach, Phil Reid has the No. 6-seeded Badgers on the cusp of vying for a state title.
“At times I thought my heart was in my stomach,” Reid said afterward about Tuesday’s victory. “But it’s one of those games where you step up and you stay focused and stay disciplined. Yes, it’s high pressure. But the team that keeps their heads, the team that stays disciplined, is the team that’s going to win.”
On Tuesday, Prescott staked itself to a 3-0 halftime lead, as Tutrone, Chivara and Rodriguez scored.
But Cortez rallied in the final 20 minutes of the second half to tie it at 3-3 and send the game to overtime. The Colts grabbed a 4-3 lead in the first non-sudden death overtime period.
That’s when Rodriguez came up big, knotting the match at 4-4 in the second OT to force the shootout.
“It was impressive to see how we kept our cool, kept our confidence,” Reid said. “It was really a good thing to see.”
With the victory, Prescott’s record improved to 12-1-1 in power-point matches. Cortez, which was previously unbeaten in power-point matches, ended its season with an 11-1-1 record.
“They’re a very good team,” Reid said of Cortez. “It was a remarkable game.”
Last season, Prescott narrowly missed qualifying for the state play-in round with a 7-5-0 record and a No. 25 ranking.
However, the previous three seasons, from 2014 through 2017, the Badgers struggled mightily, ending each campaign with two total wins.
Tuesday’s victory was indeed a sweet one for the Prescott side.
“It feels good,” Reid said. “It took all 25 of our players working hard every single day in practice and on the field, and staying positive, confident, working through each game plan, and achieving this kind of success.”
Prescott of the Grand Canyon region will face No. 7 Catalina Foothills (11-3-0), which upset No. 2 Tempe, 2-1, in the quarters on Tuesday, in the state semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at Williams Field High School in Gilbert.
“When you get into the playoffs, you can’t take anything lightly,” Reid said. “That will be our same mindset going into Saturday.”
In the top half of the bracket, No. 4 Flagstaff (13-1-0), which edged No. 5 Douglas, 2-1, in Tuesday’s quarters, battles No. 1 Salpointe Catholic (11-1-2), which routed No. 8 Amphitheater, 9-0, in the other semifinal at 11 a.m. Feb. 16, also at Williams Field.
The state championship is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, at Williams Field.
Doug Cook is a reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.