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HS boys soccer: I.F. take 2-1 thriller over Blackfoot

September 21, 2018
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Blackfoot’s Chris Botello pursues the ball between Idaho Falls’ Connor Johnson (16) and Josh Burtenshaw (04) during Thursday’s game at the Idaho Falls Soccer Complex.

IDAHO FALLS — An 80th-minute goal changed the atmosphere of the Blackfoot-Idaho Falls match on Thursday at the Idaho Falls Soccer Complex.

Blackfoot’s Izzy Labra assisted Chris Botello on a close-range goal that cut Idaho Falls’ advantage to 2-1, prompting elation from the Broncos on the pitch and bringing coaches and players at both benches to their feet.

The energy didn’t die down as the referees signaled there would be one minute of extra time. The Tigers and Broncos pursued the ball fervently in that additional minute, but the score remained unchanged as the whistles blew to signal the game final.

Idaho Falls coach Ryan Cook said the 80th-minute goal gave the Broncos hope, and he had high praise for Blackfoot keeper Nick Quezada for keeping I.F. off the scoresheet in the second half.

“They earned the right to have that goal,” Cook said. “As a former keeper, I love watching amazing keepers. Their keeper Nick is always phenomenal. He had some fantastic saves that kept them in the game.”

Blackfoot coach Liam Pope said the Broncos’ approach in the second half resulted in more scoring opportunities, like the one that led to Botello’s goal.

“I was pleased with our second-half performance,” Pope said. “We played like we earned the right to be on the field, especially the final 20 minutes. The first half, we didn’t challenge them to the first ball.”

Cook said Thursday’s game was completely different from the first meeting with the Broncos, which ended 0-0 on Sept. 5 in Blackfoot, and the Tigers entered Thursday focused on creating more chances.

Cook, who shares a quote with his players before every game, said Thursday’s quote was “one more degree” in reference to the temperature required to make water boil.

“Two-hundred eleven degrees, the water is hot, 212 is boiling,” Cook said. “I told them, ‘We need one more degree.’ They finished the job.”

Idaho Falls got on the scoreboard early in the first half, taking a 1-0 lead off a 10th-minute goal. Jameson Lee tapped in off a pass from Josh Burtenshaw. The lead stretched to 2-0 when Kyle Fogg scored in the 33rd minute off an assist from Connor Johnson. The Broncos had two shots on goal in the final five minutes of the first half, but the score remained 2-0 I.F. when the halftime whistles blew.

The pace picked up in the second half and both keepers remained busy as numerous corner and free kicks were taken. Inside five minutes left in full time, Blackfoot took a free kick and saved an I.F. shot on goal before Botello put the Broncos on the board.

“We had to calm down and play our game,” Fogg said. “We couldn’t let them get into our heads.”

Pope said the Tigers dictated the tempo in the first half, and he believed the final 20 minutes of the second half were the Broncos’ best of the game.

“I.F., they’re a good team,” Pope said. “You can’t go down 2-0 against good teams.”

Idaho Falls (5-1-5, 4-0-3 4A District 6) hosts Shelley on Tuesday, while Blackfoot (5-3-2, 4-2-1 4A District 6) hosts Bonneville the same day.

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