We just battled hard for 80 minutes and didn’t give up. We were disciplined, stayed in shape and then countered. It worked out. —Riverton head coach Paul Moizer
WEST VALLEY CITY — How does one upset a No. 1 seed?
That was the question, among others, that the Riverton Silverwolves asked themselves before their first-round contest in the 6A boys state soccer tournament against the Region 2 champion and top-seeded Granger Lancers.
Making that question difficult to assess were a few others, like how to score and how to rally from a deficit.
After all, Riverton had struggled to score throughout the season.
Of the 16 teams that qualified for the state tournament, only two, Northridge and Taylorsville, scored fewer goals over the course of the year. Not only that, the Silverwolves scored two or more goals only six times through 16 games, and only netted three goals twice.
“We’ve had trouble putting the ball in the net,” Riverton head coach Paul Moizer said.
The Silverwolves also struggled overcoming deficits, a byproduct of their lack of scoring, which was a significant reason for their 7-9-1 overall record and No. 4 seed.
“We struggled with that throughout the season,” said senior Colin Horman. “Just going down and then not being able to come back up.”
Tuesday afternoon at Granger High School, the Silverwolves had all the answers and then some.
Led by Horman, as well as Trevor Smith, Riverton overcame a 2-1 second-half deficit and defeated Granger 3-2.
Horman netted two goals, including the game-winner a minute before stoppage time, while Smith headed in a score.
The victory secured the Silverwolves a berth in the quarterfinals, where they will play the No. 3 seeded Bingham Miners.
“We just battled hard for 80 minutes and didn’t give up,” said Moizer. “We were disciplined, stayed in shape and then countered. It worked out.”
“It feels amazing right now, actually,” Horman added. “A lot of us weren’t expecting this. We knew we had to come out and give them a game, but it is exciting to get the win.”
From the outset, it looked like the Silverwolves had a chance to steal the win, and they were the first team on the board, courtesy of a volley by Horman in the 11th minute.
“His first goal was a beauty,” said Moizer. “A volley that he could hit 10 more times and not even get close.”
“I knew that we had to make every chance count in this game, especially coming against the first seed,” added Horman. “I just knew that I had to make it count.”
Over the next 20 minutes of the game, despite Granger dominating the possessions, Riverton seemed well on its way to victory.
“They had most of the possession, but we just tried to stay inside them and make them pass around the top and the sides,” said Moizer. “We didn’t want to give them any good looks on goal.”
In the 30th minute, Granger finally got a good look and did not disappoint, as leading goal scorer Felipe Landa drilled a well-placed cross into the back of the net.
Landa gave Granger the lead early in the second half when he created a scoring opportunity by himself and beat Riverton keeper Michael Doty.
“When they did get good looks they scored,” said Moizer.
Riverton had an answer, however, two in fact, thanks to Smith and Horman. Two minutes after Landa gave the Lancers the lead, Smith tied the game at 2-2 with a well-placed header from inside the box.
Then, just as stoppage time was about to begin, Horman corralled a ball that was lofted over the Lancers' defense and beat a charging Granger goalkeeper, Angel Escobedo.
“We knew that we could score on them and that we could come back,” said Horman. “We talked about it before the game and at halftime. We knew we could come back.”
“We wanted to keep fighting the whole time,” added Moizer. “We just never quit.”