Boys soccer: North Canyon thwarts Campo in 5A final

February 11, 2017 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

North Canyon and Campo Verde high schools competed in their first ever boys soccer final on Saturday night. Campo Verde was seeking extra topping on a championship cake -- an unbeaten, untied season.

North Canyon scuttled top-seed Campo's multiple aspirtations thanks to a pair of second-half goals by midfielder Daniel Bustamonte in a 3-1 victory earning the Rattlers the 5A state title at Campo Verde High School.

North Canyon, the No, 3 seed finished 17-3 and according to coach Didi Zekila, claimed the title for more than this year's squad. Zekila is in his first year as head coach, but has been in the program the last seven years.

"This is for every single player over the last seven years that played for us," Zekila said. "We come in believing in one goal and over and over the last seven years we've strived to keep pushing to be better and for a championship. We got there tonight."

As one might expect, it was a crushing night for Campo Verde suffering its only loss of the year and getting a runner-up trophy for that loss.

"I feel horrible for our boys," Campo Verde coach Drew Guarneri said. "They gave a great effort all the time. We made a couple mistakes and missed on some opportunities. At some point we'll reflect on it and find we had a great season."

North Canyon, which knocked off Carl Hayden 1-0, Liberty 2-1 and Independence 2-1 to reach the final, never trailed on Saturday.  The Rattlers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 25th minute on a header by senior midfielder Edgar Barraza that floated over the head of Campo keeper Justin Zimmerman.

Campo (25-1) knotted the match in the 37th minute on a throw in by Robert Delci tapped in  by Nathon Smith. It seemed to fire up Campo Verde heading to intermission.

But North Canyon played its game better than Campo did its in the second half. Campo had one of its best chances of the second half  -- a rebound -- rejected solidly by North Canyon keeper Sergio Gonzalez in the 58th minute. Two minutes later Bustamonte, a clutch scorer all season for the Rattlers, used nice footwork to nail a shot in the 60th minute for a 2-1 edge.

Campo over the final 12 to 15 minutes ramped up the pressure and had a near miss on a free kick by Johnny Halter in the 70th minute plus some throw ins and corners. On one of its last corners, the ball was cleared to Bustamonte. Bustamonte went on to cover nearly three-quarters of the length of the field and rifled home a shot from 20 yards out to the far post in the 74th minute. That was the match. Bustamonte's goals were his 24th and 25th of the season.

"We were pressing at the end and that last goal was due partly to that," Gurarneri said. "They were better than we were. tonight