In its final season, the Skyridge Falcons failed to play a league game after being defeated by Brighton in the 5A semi-final.
Now in their first full season of men’s football as a 6A school, the Falcons will face Weber in Friday’s 6A Championship game at Rio Tinto Stadium, thanks to a 2-1 win over Herriman on Monday night at Juan High School. Diego.
After following the Mustangs for nearly 57 minutes of play, the Falcons scored two goals in the last 13 minutes of the game to secure the victory. Skyridge’s Jackson Warden got the tying goal and Andrew Parra scored the game-winning goal with just over 90 seconds left.
“It’s a dream come true,” Parra said after scoring his first game-winning goal of his football career. “I always wanted to score that winning goal to advance or win, and it finally happened.”
Skyridge was forced to chase Herriman early after returning the ball into their third defense, which led to a goal from Herriman’s Mason Ayers just 10 minutes into the game. Odds weren’t hard to come by for the Falcons, however, as they had consistent chances throughout the game.
Herriman goalkeeper Shayn Thomsen played an excellent game, performing save after save and preventing Skyridge from finding the breakthrough.
Warden’s individual brilliance saw Skyridge finally make it onto the scoresheet in the 67th minute. The keeper slipped through the defenders on the right side of the pitch before taking a shot across the face of the goal and placing it at home on the left side of the net.
“We gave up that goal early and it was pretty frustrating, but it felt like we knew we were going to play our game and we were going to get over it even if the shots didn’t fall early,” Warden said. . . “I got the ball and just felt it, I guess. I don’t know, it was just one of those times I let the ball do its job and it was amazing.
Skyridge head coach Jerry Preisendorf said Warden’s goal with 13 minutes left put a huge weight on the shoulders of him and his team.
“Their goalie was phenomenal,” said Preisendorf. “It was huge when we got that (first goal), I think it lifted the monkey off these guys’ backs.
It seemed appropriate for Warden to create the breakthrough opportunity, as he excelled at deepening his dribbling and runs throughout the game.
“He’s so fast,” Preisendorf said of his manager. “He can put any defender in a popcorn and he did it tonight. He walked around this guy and he was gone.
Preisendorf said when his team scored the first goal he was sure he could get a second.
The second goal came just under 12 minutes later when Nicholas Saunders sent a low cross into the feet of Parra, who then sent the ball into the roof of the goal. The blow would continue to send the Falcons into the Championship game.
“What a banger,” Preisendorf said when asked what he thought of the winning goal. “That was it baby, it was fun to watch. He was an absolute banger.
The Falcons’ long scoring hunt was sped up in the 50th minute when Herriman’s Josh Conover was shown a yellow card for a foul he committed. Then, after dissenting with the umpire, he was given a second yellow and sent off, leaving the Mustangs with just 10 men on the field.
“This red card really motivated us all to work harder and achieve those end goals,” said Parra.
Warden agreed with his teammate.
“It really helped,” Warden said. “I think at that point we were playing our game really well and they were getting a little frustrated, so I think we would still have scored a goal, but it really helped us move forward.
Preisendorf was proud of his team’s efforts down the straight and how well they’ve worked over the past two years to finally get the chance to play in a league game.
The toughest test the Falcons face all season will come on Friday as they head to Rio Tinto to face the undefeated Weber Warriors who have conceded just two goals all season.
“I’m so excited I know we’re going to win it,” Warden said of the championship showdown with Weber. “They’re amazing, but they haven’t played us yet.”
Preisendorf said he and his guys will be locked up next Friday.
“We have to give them a fault. This is our job and we will be ready to go, ”said Preisendorf.