Ontario boys soccer team brings home first state title

HILLSBORO — The Ontario boys’ soccer team made history Saturday, Nov. 

12, as the Tigers edged out Phoenix 1-0 in Hillsboro, bringing home Ontario High School’s first state soccer title. 

The fifth-ranked Tigers jumped ahead early on a long goal by senior Jaaziel Chavez. However, strong defense and a key save by goal tender Martin Benites in the final 10 minutes of the game on a corner kick allowed the Tigers to preserve their lead and win.

Benites, a junior, said the game’s final 10 minutes were “stressful.”  

“We just wanted it to end,” Benites said, “It just felt like the longest 10 minutes of our lives.” 

The last thing the squad wanted, Benites said, was to allow the Phoenix to score and have the contest go into overtime.

Coach Daniel Dominguez said the difference in the game was the Tigers’ defense. Dominguez pointed out that there were three defenders each time the Pirates had the ball. 

“Everybody did their job,” Dominguez said, “and everybody played for each other. That’s what made the difference.”

Jamis Gonzalez, a senior center midfielder, concurred. 

“We’re a family out there,” Gonzalez said.

Another difference maker, according to Dominguez, was the revival of the non-profit Ida-Ore Soccer Club. In 2015, brothers Javier and Jaime Gonzalez re-booted the youth soccer league. Dominguez said the idea of reviving the club was to teach kids the fundamentals of soccer before they reached high school. 

Jaime, former Ontario boys’ soccer coach and Javier, head coach of the girls’ soccer team, brought into the soccer league roughly half of the starting roster on the boys championship team. 

“Their goal was for us to eventually get to a championship game,” Dominguez said. 

However, beyond winning the state title, Dominguez said, those years of playing allowed the teammates to form long-lasting friendships and bonds with one another. 

“They’ve known each other for a long time,” he said, “Most of these kids were nine or so when they started playing together. They have built those friendships throughout the last four or five years. And so they’re really close.” 

This team, he said, has always welcomed newcomers to the team, which, he said, has allowed it to get bigger and stronger. 

“That is something that’s helped build this program,” Dominguez said. “No matter how good you are or how much more work you may need, you are welcome to this group.”

The Tigers ended their championship season with a 6-0 league record and 13-1 overall. 

Meanwhile, Phoenix ended its season with a 6-2 league record and a 10-7-1 overall record. 

The Ontario boys soccer team won the state 4A championship on Saturday, Nov. 12, defeating Phoenix 1-0. (Ontario School District photo)
Fans gather in the Ontario High School gym on Saturday, Nov. 12, to watch a broadcast of the state soccer championship game. The Tigers won the title, defeating Phoenix 1-0 in a match played in Hillsboro. (Ontario School District photo)
The Ontario Tigers bring home the state soccer championship trophy.

The team

Player, (number), class)

Esmael Becerril (2) freshman

Hugo Mendoza (3) senior

Efrain Juarez (4) senior

Kyler Ramos (5) freshman

Nikolaz Ramirez (7) freshman

Ryker Brent (8) freshman

Jaydyn Garcia (9) freshman

Jamis Gonzalez (10) senior

Pedro Aviles (11) senior

Marcos Bauer (12) junior

Jaaziel Chavez (13) senior

Hayden David (14) sophomore

Sebastian Garfias (15) junior

Aidin Cornell (16) senior

Juan Garcia (18) junior

Pablo Ponce (19) junior

Adrian Castro (20) junior

Bryan Alejandro (22) sophomore

Charlie Rodriguez (24) junior

Martin Benites (99) junior

Head coach: Daniel Dominguez

Assistant coach: Sidrino Rangle

JV assistant coach: Johnny Dios Reyes

Road to the title

Aug. 25 ­­– Ontario 4, Weiser 0 (non-league)

Sept. 2 ­­–  Henley 2, Ontario 1 (non-league

Sept. 12 – Ontario 3, Weiser 0 (non-league)

Sept. 15 ­– Ontario 4, Fruitland 1 (non-league)

Sept. 20 – Ontario 4, Pendleton 1

Sept. 27 – Ontario 3, La Grande 0

Sept. 29 – Ontario 4, Fruitland 0 (non-league)

Oct. 4 – Ontario 6, Baker/Powder Valley/Pine Eagle 1

Oct. 11 – Ontario 3, Pendleton 1

Oct. 18 – Ontario 4, La Grande 0

Oct. 24 – Ontario 5, Baker/Powder Valley/Pine Eagle 1

Nov. 1 – Ontario 2, Tillamook 1 (playoff)

Nov. 5 – Ontario 2, Newport 0 (playoff)

Nov. 8 – Ontario 1, North Marion 0 (playoff)

Nov. 12 – Ontario 1, Phoenix 0 (state title)

News tip? Contact reporter Steven Mitchell: [email protected]
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