ONTARIO – The Ontario Tigers are on the map after the boys took home the league title for the second year in a row, making Ontario High School history.
On Saturday, Oct. 19, the Tigers beat Baker/Powder Valley, 3-1, in an away league game, clinching the league title.
Jaaziel Chavez, Junior Mireles, and Erick Lopez all scored in Saturday’s game.
The Ontario boys soccer program is now currently ranked third in the state by the Oregon School Activities Association, but the team still has to face off once again against La Grande at home for one last league game before the season comes to an end.
Jaime Gonzalez, the Ontario boys’ soccer coach, said that even though he and his team are excited about their accomplishment, they still have their heads in the game.
“Honestly,” Gonzalez said. “I thought there would be a little more celebration, but I’m kind of happy that we are still focused on our goals and moving forward.”
“I thought it would be a little rowdy on the bus, but I think they have their sights on bigger things,” Gonzalez said of his boys as they returned to Ontario from Baker.
“We want to get that ‘W’ so we can have the highest possible ranking,” Gonzalez said.
The Tigers beat La Grande 3-1 on their own turf, clinching their third league win of the season on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
Now, La Grande will come to Ontario for the final game of the season on Saturday, Oct. 26, and Gonzalez said he expects another tough game.
“I expect the same thing,” Gonzalez said. “Just another hard-fought game. It comes down to who makes the least amount of mistakes.”
As the final big game looms, the Tigers remain focused.
“Keeping them focused has been a process,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said that he and his brother Javier Gonzalez, who coaches the Lady Tigers, have known many of the kids on the team for a long time, and Gonzalez said that his brother was a big part of his success.
“We have always preached on and off the field how you act, how you take care of school first, your family,” Gonzalez said. “You got to win the right way and lose the right way. If you set goals, you can’t just be satisfied with meeting one. You got to keep fighting for those other goals you have for the season.”
Gonzalez said that he wanted to give a shout out to high school teachers and staff for their support and for sending the team treats and water for long road trips during the season.
Gonzalez also wanted to show gratitude to his assistant coach, Danny Dominguez, and his brother Javier.
Gonzalez said his brother listened to him after games and provided valuable feedback.
“It’s great to do this together as a family,” Gonzalez said. Saturday’s game against La Grande corresponds with this year’s senior night, where seniors will be honored for their hard work and athletic achievements.
“We want to go all the way. Why not us? Let’s make OHS history. We’ve never had a state championship in soccer, so why not now? Let’s play as a team, and enjoy the ride,” Gonzalez added.
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The Lady Tigers beat Baker/Powder Valley 2-0, securing a spot in the playoffs, and flipping their league record from last year.
Briona Romayor and Yesenia Rodriguez scored the goals in Saturday’s game.
“We extended our season,” girl’s coach, Javier Gonzalez, said.
Gonzalez said that despite playing against the elements, his girls played well.
Tiffany Nelson, Iris Meza, Boston Garcia and Alondra Tonoco played great defense, Gonzalez said.
The win against Baker/Powder Valley was a big one, and the Tigers currently have a 4-1 league record.
Gonzalez said that he is proud of the girls as they have come a long way from their 0-6 league record last year.
Like the boys, the girls will face La Grande on Saturday.
The Lady Tigers lost to La Grande 9-0 earlier in the season, and they would have to beat them 10-0 to be the league champions, Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said that a win over La Grande will be difficult, but that worst case scenario, they will end up in second place.
Gonzalez said that while there is still room for improvement, the girls and the program are headed in the right direction.
“It’s getting these girls to just believe in themselves and then going from there,” he said. Gonzalez added that he wanted to show gratitude for his assistant coach Hailee Turner.
“She is a great addition to the program.”
Have a news tip? Reporter Joe Siess: [email protected] or 541-473-3377.
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