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Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Layton celebrates its 1-0 victory over Davis in a boys soccer match at Davis High School in Layton on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.
I told the guys before the game if we get this win we’re in a good spot to try and win the region championship, and that’s what they wanted, they want the opportunity —Layton coach Rick Talamantez

KAYSVILLE — In a game with crunching tackles, particularly early with Davis and Layton trying to set the tone, opportunities going forward were difficult to come by throughout Tuesday’s Region 1 clash.

Playing clean, simple soccer was always going to be key, and Layton was the sharper team in the decisive moments.

Layton pounced on a Davis mistake along the backline early in the game, and its stout defense made sure the one goal held up in holding off Davis for the 1-0 victory.

Layton got a big penalty kick save from keeper Braeden Grow early in the second half as it improved to 4-1-1 in league play to remain very much in the thick of the race.

“I told the guys before the game if we get this win we’re in a good spot to try and win the region championship, and that’s what they wanted, they want the opportunity,” said Layton coach Rick Talamantez.

The Lancers knew they were in for a battle with Davis from the opening minute with a couple of hard, clean tackles on both sides.

“That first 10 minutes it could’ve gone either way. I told the boys it’s going to be a battle, you’ve got to get the ball off your feet, if you don’t get it off your feet it’s going to hurt. They adapted, they adjusted and they played hard the whole game,” Talamantez said.

The buildup to Layton’s 11th-minute tally started with a scuffed free kick from Davis out of its own defensive third — with most of Davis’ players pushed up past midfield.

Instead of going up and covering Layton’s forwards, the ball went straight to Leo Urrutia, who quickly dribbled straight at the defender, who misplayed the ball, then around him before crossing the ball into the box. Devon Ward was waiting near the far post and hammered the cross in for the 1-0 lead.

“Took it down the flanks, saw his player wide open and got it to him. Did exactly what we train, work the outside, but the ball across and give us an opportunity,” Talamantez said.

The goal was the fourth of the season for Ward.

Neither keeper was called upon the rest of the first half, but that changed early in the second half. In the 47th minute, the ref awarded Davis a PK after midfielder Matthew Ferre was tripped up near the endline.

Layton's Grow dove the correct direction and blocked the ensuing penalty kick to help preserve his fourth shutout of the season.

Over the final half hour, Layton defenders Carter Johnson, Braden Young, Christian Logan and Takum Hepworth kept Davis’ attack under wraps.

“All we wanted to do was keep them in front of us the best we can. We respect their players, they have some great players,” said Talamantez.

Davis and Layton meet again on May 10 in the final game of the regular season, and the intensity could be even higher if the Region 1 title is on the line.