LAYTON — One clear, clean shot was all it took to keep the Vikings' stellar season rolling.
Viewmont High's unbeaten boys soccer team had its hands full throughout the first 40 minutes of Thursday's Region 1 game against a spunky Layton squad.
Then, with time running out in the first half, the Vikings' Georgie Orozco took a perfectly placed pass from Lucas Cawley and headed it into the net to break the scoreless deadlock and give Viewmont a momentum-grabbing 1-0 halftime lead.
"The reason I'm on this roster is for my head, and I knew Lucas was gonna give it to me," Orozco said of the ball he received in front of the Layton net on a chipped pass from Cawley, who has spent the past couple of prep seasons sharpening his skills at the Real Salt Lake Academy in Arizona and the Portland Timbers' program in Oregon. "I knew (because) he always does it — he does it in practice, he does it in games — and I just knew he was gonna give me that ball.
"Lucas is a special player. I mean, you've read the papers, he's a commit to UVU and he's a special player, and I knew he was gonna give me that ball. And I was just fortunate to be in the right place at the right time."
The Vikings added two more goals late in the second half on their way to an eventual 3-0 victory, running their spotless record to 9-0 in Region 1 and 12-0-1 overall.
Viewmont coach Dave Wigham said Orozco's goal certainly seemed to shift the momentum in his team's favor.
"I know it's deflating right before half to give up a goal," Wigham said. "I was worried that we wouldn't get the corner (kick) in time. We have scored off short corners maybe four times this year. We give it to Lucas and he just tiptoes down the touch line, and people are afraid to foul him because it's a PK if they do.
"And he's tricky with the ball and then he looks for big Georgie at the far post, and that's exactly where he was. We've done that before.
"I think it was big," Wigham said of the Vikings' first goal. "I think it kinda put them back on their toes a little bit. They fought hard, and the first 20 minutes they kinda controlled things. They should've scored in the first half — we were lucky they hit the post in the first couple of minutes — and then we kinda settled into the game. And then in the second half we just kinda took over.
"(Layton coach) Rick (Talamantez ) has been saying they have trouble scoring, so I think 1-0 they still had some hope. But once we got the second one, they're like 'We can't score two.’ ”
Viewmont's second goal came in the 67th minute when Mike Johnson put a shot into the bottom left corner of the net on a penalty kick after a teammate was taken down in the box.
The Vikings then put a little more icing on their victory cake in the closing seconds when Cawley punched in a shot from short range.
Layton missed a couple of great scoring chances in the game's early stages as Youri Joseph's shot ricocheted hard off the right post in the fourth minute and Johnathan Rodriguez sent a rocket that sailed barely over the crossbar in the 29th minute.
In the second half, Joseph got another great chance, but his shot was deflected off the hands of Viewmont goalie Porter May and flew over the crossbar. Layton's Logan Day also put a header over the crossbar late in the second half.
For May, it was his sixth shutout of the season.
"I thought I did good, but I really credit my defenders," May said. "I mean, they're the ones making the stops and giving me the shots that I can stop. So it's really all them."
Wigham gave his 6-foot-5 goalkeeper plenty of credit, though.
"Porter is really good," the Vikings' coach said. "He's set a school record for the number of shutouts; he's got six, and he missed the first two games because he was still playing basketball and then he missed another game against Davis because he had a concussion. So he's missed three games.
"That's pretty discouraging for an offense to finally get past that back four and then all of a sudden you've got a 6-5 kid standing there waiting for you. So he's pretty imposing; he's doing really well."
Coach Wigham had plenty of praise for his entire team, which has now outscored its Region 1 opponents by a lopsided 21-3 margin.
"They're playing well," he said. "They're just sticking with our game plan. We've been working on certain things in practice, and the kids are buying into it and doing what we ask. They're good kids; they're good soccer players, and we can throw anything at ’em and they go for it.
"I didn't realize how good we were defensively and we've only given up like three goals all year (in region play). I concentrate on offense and I knew we were scoring quite a bit more, but I didn't realize until I looked at the standings for the first time at how few goals we've given up. So our defense is strong as well.
"The last three games, we've played three really good teams, and we've made it look easy — and it's not," Wigham said.
The Vikings are well aware that, with their undefeated record, they've got a huge bull's-eye on their backs. But they're not letting that bother them at all; instead, they relish the fact that they're getting every opponent's best shot.
"Yeah, we know," Orozco said. "But we embrace it; we take pride in it, and it just motivates us to play better. I feel good, our team feels good, and we feel like we're peaking and we're taking this into state and see what we can do."
"We feel like we've had that bull's-eye all year," Wigham said. "Everyone knew we were gonna be pretty good from last year. We had everybody back, and then once Lucas (Cawley) came back, then everybody was like, 'Uh-oh, Viewmont.'
"So they're used to it, they've accepted that. They accept that challenge that teams are gonna give us their best shot. But we like that."
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company