Good play in the goal, a solid back line and a converted penalty kick from Braden Johnston was all the Pine View Panthers needed Saturday, as they advanced to the 3A semifinals with a 1-0 win over Uintah.
Following a scoreless first half, which saw each team have opportunities to get on the board, the Panthers wasted little time getting on the board in the second half. In the 42nd minute, Michael Cardenas was taken down in the box, leading to a penalty kick. Johnston converted for Pine View, taking advantage of the opportunity.
“I think people look at penalties and think they’re easy,” PV head coach Sam Johnston said. “But in this circumstance — we’ve been practicing the penalties all week, and he can hit and hit and hit, but you get the pressure and you know we needed it, and sometimes that can get in your mind. Braden is a real mature kid, and just buried it.”
Taking on the Utes from Region 10, the penalty kick was about the only clean look that Panthers got all day. Despite various corner kicks and some nice crosses into the box, Uintah seemed to always be able to recover.
“I’d heard that they were kind of big and physical, and that’s how they were. They made it really hard on us to get anything today,” Johnston said. “It felt like every single time we had a shot, there were like six or seven guys right there in front of us. It was a tough fought game.”
Pine View’s best chance in the first half may have come when senior Keith Collins lofted the ball into the box from the left sideline in the 34th minutes. The Panthers nearly headed the ball for a score, but the attempt went just wide. PV keeper Justin Jones said the Panthers expected a hard fought battle, but had a couple things going in their favor.
“We were told that they were a big physical team, and as you can tell, they’re big players. A lot of us are smaller,” said Jones, who recorded the shutout. “I think what helped was with us being the first seed, we had a home game in the second round. We were able to play on a field that we’re used to and we were able to play in climate that we’re used to.”
One of the hottest days of the season certainly may have played a factor, as the Utes seemed to wear down during the game. Uintah’s possession dropped dramatically from the first to the second half, and the Utes hardly posed a threat during the game’s final 20 minutes. However, things did get a little chippy down the stretch.
Multiple Panthers were slow to get up following mid-air collisions, and Uintah’s Jordan Cushing had to be carted off the field after remaining on the turf for several minutes. In the 65th minute, PV’s Cesar Gutierrez and the Utes’ Jurey Beddes were both awarded a yellow card for some extracurricular shoving.
“You get tired and you start to feel the heat and your legs don’t want to do what you want them to do,” Johnston said. “You start stabbing in and you start grabbing and doing some things, and I think that’s just kind of a byproduct of being tired and hot and dehydrated and things like that.”
With the win, the Panthers advance to take on a very familiar foe, in Region 9 member Cedar. The Redmen defeated Park City on the road Saturday, 2-1. Pine View topped Cedar twice during the regular season, by a combined score of 4-1. The semifinal matchup between the two will be played Friday at 4 p.m.
“It will be exciting, we played them twice obviously in region and all that,” Jones said. “They’re a good team. We definitely won’t overlook them.”
CEDAR 2, PARK CITY 1: No details reported.
JUAN DIEGO 3, SNOW CANYON 1: No details reported.