EL CENTRO – Southwest High School boys' soccer team finished off the regular season in first place in Imperial Valley League play and remained undefeated with a record of 9-0-3 throughout conference action.
The league championship-deciding game took place in El Centro on Feb. 5 when the Eagles hosted Calexico in a one-goal game that came down to the wire. Dilan Cota was able to kick in the go-ahead goal which catapulted Southwest to a 9-0-2 record and situated the Eagles in first place and out of reach.
The final game of the season was also the El Centro City Rivalry game between the Eagles and Spartans. Central dominated the majority of possession as Southwest strategically played for a tie and defended more than threatened.
Southwest managed four separate corner kick attempts that were unsuccessful and Central also could not capitalize on their two CK tries.
The second half mirrored the first where no goals were scored. The final whistle blew on a 0-0 tie but in a rare instance, penalty shots were arranged to decide the Rivalry Game Champion.
Both teams shot almost perfectly but it was Central who eventually missed a penalty. As the Eagles knocked in all of their five PKs, the Southwest players stormed the field and hoisted up the City Championship trophy.
“This game was an important game because it was the City Rivalry, but since we had already clinched the playoff, I told my players to be cautious and not get hurt,” said head coach Rafael Contreras.
With the victory, Southwest was seeded as the #2 team in the Division III CIF soccer playoff. Central also made the postseason as the #8 seed.
The Eagles were awarded a bye and will host the winner between Vista and Granite Hills on February 15 at 5 p.m.