I never imagined us winning today, but we got the result, and I am happy. Just happy for our team. —Dixie's Oscar Quintero
WASHINGTON TERRACE, Weber County — The Dixie Flyers can score a soccer ball.
Sixty goals this season, the best mark in the 4A classification, attest to that fact.
They dropped seven goals on Green Canyon in the season opener, back on March 6.
They scored eight goals against Canyon View a few weeks later.
They scored six against Hurricane (March 20), five against Pine View (April 17), and on Thursday, May 3 — in the first round of the boys 4A state soccer tournament — they pummeled the Spanish Fork Dons by a score of 8-0.
Heading into their quarterfinal matchup with the Bonneville Lakers, Dixie had scored four or more goals in seven games this year, tops among Region 9 teams.
And yet, despite their goal-scoring prowess, the Flyers struggled to convert set pieces, specifically corner kicks.
“I’ve been told by a few parents that we hadn’t scored a corner kick this year,” Dixie head coach Burt Myers said. “I knew we hadn’t.”
It wasn’t for a lack of trying.
“We constantly practice those, at least an hour every practice,” Quintero said.
For whatever reason, set pieces just did not result in Dixie goals; that is, until Saturday afternoon at Bonneville High School.
Led by Quintero, who headed in a corner and a free kick, as well as Morales (penalty kick) and Flores (corner), the Flyers turned four set pieces into goals.
Those scores carried the day, as Dixie upset top-seeded Bonneville 4-2 and secured a berth in the 4A semifinals.
“We just waited until the right time of the year to use our corners,” Myers said, cheekily. “In all seriousness, we are peaking at the right time, and I am excited about it. I thought we did a really good job up here.”
“I never imagined us winning today, but we got the result, and I am happy,” Quintero added. “Just happy for our team.”
The truth is, the Flyers were the happier side for much of the game.
After an initial 20 minutes of haphazard soccer, courtesy of both teams, Dixie was the first side to settle down.
The result was a deluge of Flyer shot attempts and set pieces — Dixie attempted five corner kicks and three free kicks in the first half alone — none of which managed to find their way past Bonneville keeper Ethan Walker.
That is, until Flores succeeded with five minutes remaining in the first half.
The forward was on the receiving end of a corner kick delivered by Morales, an offering which Flores deftly volleyed past Walker.
That score gave Dixie a one-goal lead, an advantage it took into halftime.
The Lakers, for their part, responded well out of the break and scored their first goal of the contest five minutes in, when Mathis Burton drilled a penalty kick into the left side of the net (the penalty kick itself was the result of a foul on Joe Clowder, committed as he attempted to work his way into the middle of the box).
“Our major strategy was doubling their two forwards (Clowder and Jaiden Marriott),” said Myers. “We wanted to make them beat us outside and not down the middle. Clearly, it didn’t work.”
The Flyers wasted little time responding to the Lakers' score, and within ten minutes had added another goal, thanks to a penalty kick converted by Morales.
Four minutes after that, Quintero got involved in the action, when he headed another Morales corner kick into the back of the net.
“He is really good at it,” said Myers. “We got the ball in the area we wanted to, and (Oscar) came in clean.”
Quintero added his final score just before stoppage time, when he was on the receiving end of a Dixie free kick.
“Honestly I am not that great at (headers), but today I pulled it off, and I am glad I did,” said Quintero. “Without those (goals) we would have been in trouble.”
Bonneville added their final score in stoppage time, on another penalty kick — this one taken by Marriott — but the deficit was too great. The Flyers had won.
“I was happy with what we did today,” said Myers. “Now, we get to go home, regroup, take a break and move on.”