KAYSVILLE — Usually a Cinderella run in sports is synonymous with March Madness, but don’t count out high school soccer completely.
On Friday at home, the agony of defeat played out on the Davis High boys soccer sideline after the Darts’ sparkling season and a chance at a 6A state semifinal were ended in a 1-0 loss to Granger in the second round of the state tournament.
This is the deepest Granger playoff run in boys soccer since 2010 when the Lancers (not Layton) lost 3-0 in the semifinals against … Davis.
Granger sophomore Diego Romero broke the deadlock in the 68th minute after what had been an entertaining contest, despite what the scoreless score would indicate.
Davis gave the ball away in its own end, Granger’s Orlando Gavino picked it up and passed to Romero on the left side.
Romero cut in and fired a low shot past Darts’ keeper Noah Larkin, who watched a ball go into the net behind him for just the fifth time all season.
“We were all over them (in the second half) and, even in the first half, we had two point-blank chances to get the first goal,” Davis head coach Souli Phongsavath said. “In the second half, we were really dangerous on our set pieces and our throw-ins. I thought we had the run of play in the second half, but that’s how the game works a little bit sometimes.”
Larkin turned away a low shot from Romero in the second minute for a corner kick. Other than that, the Darts’ back line didn’t let the Lancers get close to the goal despite Granger dominating possession and winning virtually every 50/50 ball.
Davis’ best chance in the first half came from Joshua Harwood’s point-blank effort in the ninth minute from a couple yards, which smacked off a defender.
The second half brought a flurry of chances for the Darts, none of which went in despite mounting pressure on Granger’s goal.
A Harwood free kick in the 61st minute rattled around in the penalty box but ultimately rolled out. The Darts had a few other set-piece chances they couldn’t connect.
“We couldn’t get any more into their end in the second half and, unfortunately, you have to take your chances. Games like this, the first goal was going to win the game,” Phongsavath said.
When they finally did connect on one, it was a goal-bound header in second-half stoppage time by senior captain Kaden Chino that would’ve gone in if not for — who else? — Romero, who headed it away.
When the final whistle blew, Granger celebrated in semi-disbelief. The Lancers had already knocked off Bingham in the first round, but not many Granger teams in any sport make a deep playoff run.
“This group together, man, this team is unbelievable,” Granger coach Bewar Yousif said. “I’ve coached here for three years and — I don’t know what else to say. I’m just excited for them, knowing where these kids come from, you have to understand, you have to get into these kids’ lives and realize what it means for them.”
Davis won an outright Region 1 title, beat archrival Layton for the first time since 2016 and had a defense that allowed just five goals in 17 matches.
Phongsavath said the Darts can be very proud of what they’ve accomplished this year, even if that would’ve been a hard message to send after the whistle.