Clackamas wins 6-0 at Sandy, caps unbeaten run to Mt. Hood title
It's one thing for a Class 6A high school boys soccer team to talk about going undefeated throughout the regular season.
It's something else to actually go out and make it happen.
The Clackamas Cavaliers rolled over Sandy 6-0 in Tuesday night's Mt. Hood Conference regular-season finale, putting the exclamation point on an undefeated run to their first league championship in seven seasons.
Brandon Farfan scored the game's first goal in the seventh minute and the other five — two by Peter Sanchez and one each by Tommy Faevstev, Bereket Mitiku, and Cooper Sheakley — were the icing on the cake as the Cavaliers improved to 11-0-3 overall and 6-0-1 in league play.
"Man, this is great," said Farfan, the Cavaliers' senior midfielder. "I'm just happy for the team, happy we could get this done and do something that hasn't been done in a while for Clackamas High School soccer.
"We knew from the start of tryouts that we had to take practice seriously, listen to our coaches, and put everything we had into this. We put in the work, and it paid off."
Clackamas claimed its first league championship in six seasons as a member of the Mt. Hood Conference and first title since 2012 when the Cavaliers won the Three Rivers League crown.
"It's a pretty good feeling," Clackamas co-captain Tyler Bennett said. "I don't know what else to say. It's just a really good feeling that not a lot of us have had in our high school careers, so it's really good to experience it now."
The No. 4-ranked Cavaliers still have some soccer to play, starting Saturday when they open the 6A playoffs at home with a 5 p.m. match against Beaverton (4-7-4).
"Our aim is to go and win the whole thing, of course, it is," Clackamas coach Thomas Kean said. "You don't go and win your conference and then just say, 'Oh well, guys, nice season.' You go for everything.
"The baseline expectation is that we continue to perform to the best of our ability. The competition is naturally going to get stronger from here and you might come up against a great team on a great day. But we also know that if we play to the best of our ability, we can match anyone. And as long as we do that, we can hold our heads highs."
Clackamas kicked off the regular season with a pair of ties against Forest Grove and Grant, and then reeled off consecutive wins over Sherwood, Beaverton, McMinnville, Westview, and Southridge to finish non-conference play with a 5-0-2 record.
The Cavaliers then opened league play with a 2-2 at David Douglas, followed by a 3-1 home win over Centennial — the game that Kean said served as a key turning point in the season.
"Against David Douglas, some old habits from the season before had crept in where we played to the standard that we were expecting to play and not up to the best of our ability," Kean said. "But against Centennial, the boys came out and they fought as if their lives depended on it, and I felt that was probably the moment where we really started to think, 'Yeah, we can go and do this.'"
Cameron Gaines then scored all three goals in a 3-2 win over No. 2-ranked Reynolds on Oct. 17, and Brady Fendrich scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Central Catholic on Oct. 24 as Clackamas maintained a one-game lead over Reynolds with one game remaining.
Against Sandy, the Cavaliers got all the offense they needed in the seventh minute when a Bennett corner kick from the right corner found its way to Farfan's left foot on the left side of the 18-yard box.
"Tyler crossed it and one of Sandy's defenders got his head on it, but the ball didn't go forward," Farfan said. "Instead, it went backward and Copper was running toward it and I told him, 'Leave it,' so I could take a rip at it. I got it with my left foot and it went over the keeper and in the corner."
Mitiku capitalized on a bit of miscommunication between Sandy keeper Josiah Rothwell and one of the Pioneers' defenders when he scored in the 36th minute to give Clackamas a 2-0 lead.
The Cavaliers' other four goals all came during the second half and were a reflection of what this Clackamas team has been all about this season with practically everyone getting into the act.
"One thing that I think was big was the leadership," Bennett said. "It wasn't just me, Brandon, and Brady as team captains. It's everybody taking ownership for what they did and their role on the team, whether we're talking about the starters, the bench players, or even the JV team. Everybody helped out."
Kean points to the team's "togetherness" as the common thread that has run throughout the first 14 games.
"Honestly, we are a group that possibly has the deepest amount of talent of any team in the state," he said. "We rely on one another rather than try and be a program where we say, 'OK, we've got three talented guys, so let's make sure everything goes through them.'
"We're saying, 'We've got 16, 17, 18 talented guys, so let's make sure that we can trust one another and that we can work together.' I think that's what has made the difference for us. It has been a real team effort and a real collective spirit that has gotten us where we are."
In the last 10 seasons, the Cavaliers advanced as far as the quarterfinals four times and lost in the semifinals twice — in 2009 to South Salem, and in 2012 to Lincoln.
As the No. 4 seed this season, Clackamas is on the same side of the 32-team playoff bracket as top-seeded Jesuit. That puts the Cavaliers on a potential collision course with the defending state champion Crusaders in the semifinals, assuming both teams survive the first three rounds.
"To get to a quarterfinal, a semifinal, and a final, you're going to have to be beating very good teams, regardless of when," Kean said. "Right now, we're playing fantastically well, especially given that we've just come through a period where we've had a lot of players ill.
"Against Sandy, it was really the first game we've had a fully fit roster in about three weeks. So, with that in mind ... right now, yeah, we're playing the best that we've played all season, I would say. And that's a reasonably high bar, because we've played reasonably well all year."
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