That was a great final game. I am both tired and elated. What a great team Viewmont is. Both teams battled the whole time. It was simply a great final. —Alta head coach Lee Mitchell
SANDY — Mitchell! Mitchell! Mitchell! Back-to-back!! Back-to-back!! We Want Bama!!
Those were just a few of the raucous cheers that echoed throughout Rio Tinto Stadium Thursday night following almost 90 minutes of championship caliber soccer between the Alta Hawks and the Viewmont Vikings in the 5A state championship game.
As those cheers indicate, and as has been the case oh so often over the years, it was the Hawks that once again stood above all the rest.
Senior Cole Fassler netted a goal and was largely responsible for another, and the Hawks defeated the Vikings 2-1 in overtime for the eighth boys soccer title in Alta history.
“That was a great final game,” Alta head coach Lee Mitchell said. “I am both tired and elated. What a great team Viewmont is. Both teams battled the whole time. It was simply a great final.”
Not only was it that, it was the first time in program (boys soccer) history that Alta has won back-to-back state championships.
“It is unreal. We made history tonight,” said Fassler. “We are the first Alta boys to go back-to-back.”
Fassler was essential to making that history happen, both at the beginning of the contest and at the end.
Thanks to the senior defensive back, who was on the receiving end of a corner kick from Alta midfielder Jack Anderson, the Hawks took an early lead in the game, just 10 minutes in.
“It was on a corner and I was free in the box,” Fassler said. “I was able to put it in with my foot and put us up 1-0. It was good to get the lead at the beginning.”
Viewmont tied the game at one goal apiece in the second half, thanks to “The Dog” Preston Pitt. The goal, which came in the 67th minute, was exactly what the Vikings needed, and equally devastating for the Hawks.
“It was heartbreaking when they equalized,” said Fassler, “But I knew that we had enough heart to bring it back. Even when they scored I knew we were going to bring it back and win the state championship. We just have that much heart.”
Mitchell said something similar at the conclusion of the Hawks 4-3 semifinal victory over Skyline at Woods Cross High School, noting that this year Alta team, “have the hearts of lions.”
The heart always wins out, and it did Thursday for Alta.
All season long Fassler had been the team’s designated player on throw-ins, and for good reason — he can heave the ball farther than anyone in the classification.
With mere minutes remaining in the first overtime period, and the eventual threat of penalty kicks looming, Fassler threw a ball into the box.
Usually a ball like that would find one of his teammates.
“We do that every single game and almost every single game I get an assist on that,” Fassler said. “I always throw it as hard as I can basically and just hope for the best.”
On this particular occasion, it found a few Vikings defenders, as well as Anderson, before bouncing by Viewmont goalkeeper Isaac Roy and into the back of the net.
“It worked for us,” said Fassler.
“We were battling,” added Mitchell. “It was a hard play for them, and you take what you can get. We put pressure on them and sometimes that happens.
When you have a kid that can throw that far and you have other kids that can go up and get it you use it.”
No matter how it happened, the goal stood, and the Alta Hawks were once again state champions.
“It is unreal,” said Fassler. “Oh my gosh, it is unreal. I don’t even know what to say.”
“You always want to win. Every year you have the goal of winning state and it doesn’t happen that often,” added Mitchell. “Right now it feels like I am a million years old, but it is great for these kids. They deserve it. I am really proud of them.”