OGDEN — It isn’t exactly normal for a free kick to be converted into a goal in a high school soccer game.
More often than not, those precious set pieces are wasted, prime scoring opportunities squandered.
Score two goals off two free kicks and, well, that’s practically unheard of.
Take those kicks from 30-plus yards out and things enter unbelievable territory.
And yet, that is exactly what happened Wednesday night at the Spence Eccles Ogden Community Sports Complex in the rivalry game rematch between the Ogden Tigers and the Ben Lomond Fighting Scots.
The Tigers netted two scores off free kicks, both taken and converted by Eric Estrada, both from well over 30 yards out.
Add in a Ben Lomond own goal and the three scores proved more than enough as Ogden defeated Ben Lomond 3-1.
The victory avenged a loss earlier this season for Ogden, which fell to Ben Lomond 2-1 back on March 29.
Early on in Wednesday’s contest it seemed as though the Fighting Scots would come away with another victory in the heated rivalry, however.
Ben Lomond scored first, thanks to a 15th-minute goal by senior Ruben Soto, who finished off a well-placed lob pass that took the top off the Tigers' defense.
It wasn’t the only chance the Fighting Scots had either, as Ben Lomond lobs allowed the visitors to regularly threaten.
Slowly but surely the Tigers began to counter the effective attack, however.
“It was the kids figuring it out,” Ogden head coach Todd Scott said. “We adjusted and found a counter to that offensive format and it worked.”
It helped, he added, that the team had Gram Burkdoll in its back four, as Burkdoll recently missed a contest due to a red card suspension.
Before long it was the Tigers who were on the offensive, and with just under five minutes remaining in the first half, their attack netted a goal via a Ben Lomond own goal.
Moments later, with the game knotted one goal apiece, the Tigers were awarded a free kick from way back on the left wing, 35 yards away from the goal.
Estrada, a lefty himself, took the free kick, which he deftly dropped into the back of the net.
The goal came as a surprise to most, Ogden and Ben Lomond fans alike, but not to Scott.
“He has the freedom to take that shot. Absolutely,” said Scott. “When there is a set piece we know that he is taking it. We figured it out, because he is a lefty, keepers think it is going to go way wide. He can curve that so it goes in.”
Estrada did the same thing late in the second half on yet another free kick, making good from 30-plus yards away again.
“He practices that,” said Scott. “Absolutely.”Comment on this story
The win not only avenged the Tigers’ earlier loss to the Fighting Scots, it propelled them into the driver's seat as far as the Region 11 title is concerned.
With one game remaining, Ogden stands on top of the region, with a 7-3-3 record and 23 points, ahead of Ben Lomond (7-2-1, 21 points).
Still, there is work to be done.
“My boys still know that it is an uphill battle, with Stansbury left,” said Scott. “Obviously we have to thank Bonneville for beating Park City," — the Lakers defeated the Miners 1-0 earlier on Wednesday — "but we are on the up and up.”