SANDY — All season long the Judge Memorial Bulldogs looked forward to playing in Rio Tinto Stadium.
They’d won a state championship the year before, but that win came at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, rather than the iconic Sandy venue that has served as the host of many a state championship game, not to mention Real Salt Lake and Utah Royals FC home games.
So for Joe Paul, Jack Terrill, Cameron Lundy, Gedeon Baende, Anthony Aguilar Padilla and the rest of the Bulldogs, the goal all season long was to make it to Rio Tinto, the site of the 3A state championship game.
Once there, of course, the hope was to defend their crown.
Perhaps they were distracted by the venue they’d longed to play in though, as the Bulldogs didn’t appear up to the task early on in Friday afternoon’s 3A state championship game against the Summit Academy Bears.
So much so that they fell behind 2-0 to the Bears, with what seemed like very little hope of a comeback.
“Once they got the second (goal), my energy dropped,” Paul said. “I didn’t know if we could come back. From one goal sure, but two?”
Comeback they did, however, as Judge Memorial rallied to defeat Summit Academy, 3-2, and claimed the state championship.
“This one was a tough one,” said coach Kelly Terrill. “We were down 2-0, but the kids didn’t quit. They just didn’t quit. They held on and it has been like that the whole season. This game represented the whole season for us. They just didn’t quit. I am proud of them.”
“We just came back from two goals down,” Paul added. “We have never been down two goals before. To pull that off in the final, it meant a lot.”
It was Galindo’s that proved the game winner, capping off the stunning Judge comeback.
“I just felt relieved,” Galindo said. “It was just relief.”
Early on, and understandably so, it was the Bears who looked like they would come away with the title, much like they did with the Region 13 championship.
Jared Arellano scored a mere five minutes into the game, breaking through the Bulldogs backline before drilling the ball past Judge goalkeeper Jaciel Tinoco-Guzman.
“Our defense wasn’t doing as well as they normally do, our forwards too,” Paul said. “Once they got the second (goal), my energy dropped. I didn’t know if we could come back.”
“We started to worry about what they were doing,” Kelly Terrill added. “We worried about the game itself.”
Trailing 2-0 and seemingly without a shred of momentum, the Bulldogs rallied, however.
First came possession of the ball, which Judge thoroughly dominated throughout the back half of the first half.
“We moved some personnel around and got more under control and were able to possess the ball,” Kelly Terrill said.
Possession gave the Bulldogs more confidence, confidence they could in fact rally, confidence which eventually led to shot attempts, including more than a few by Paul, one of which clanked off the far left post.
“After I saw that we could keep the ball on their end of the field, I started to think this could happen,” he said.
With only three minutes remaining until halftime, the Bulldogs finally got their breakthrough, when Paul found Batalla in the box.
Surrounded by Summit Academy defenders, the freshman made good on his scoring try.
“When we got that first goal, it was a whole new mindset for all of us,” said Paul.
Two minutes later, the Bulldogs tied the game at two goals apiece when Jack Terrill scored his team-leading 29th goal of the season, on a header no less, off yet another Paul assist.
“We got that sneaky one at the end with that head ball, but it was nice,” Kelly Terrill said. “It was nice to tie the game going into halftime.”
“When we got back to the locker at half, we were going crazy,” Paul added.1 comment on this story
Coming out of halftime, Judge wasted little time adding the final score of the game, via a cross that found Galindo in the box.
“I just felt it would come to me,” the sophomore said. “I just tried to stay calm and did my thing.”
All told, Judge netted three goals in seven minutes of play.
“We can score goals in bunches,” Kelly Terrill said. “We’ve done it before.”
From there the teams battled until the final whistle, a battle the Bulldogs won.
“They knew they could do it,” Kelly Terrill said. “They believed in themselves and they believed in each other. It was a great win.”