Enterprise staff writer
It was the 20th win of the season. It clinched the Delta Valley Conference championship. The effort left Blue Devil boys soccer coach Ashley Yudin with a warm, fuzzy feeling.
After dispatching second-place Franklin, 7-1, on a chilly Thursday afternoon at Ron & Mary Brown Stadium, Davis High earned its fifth straight league crown while giving everyone involved a sense of accomplishment.
ÒAcross the board, we had excellent play today,Ó Yudin said. ÒI was really happy with the way Chuy (Herrera) set things up … and how Jacob (Weiss) and Ryan (Gross) have been very good at midfield, holding (the ball in) for our offense.Ó
Sweeper Alex Vivona was pleased Òthat we came out strong. It was what we wanted to do. It was a good game for us.Ó
And Herrera was happy that Davis got to show what it could do on a real soccer field, not pleased that the Devils tied the Wildcats 1-1 in Elk Grove a month ago.
ÒThis field is bigger. We can open it up here … use the speed we have,Ó Herrera added after DHS played at Halden Field in the newly named Brown Stadium. The game was moved because normal home venue Yudin Field was muddy.
As expected, Franklin came out with a physical demeanor.
Early on, Cyrus Ghaffari, Dylan West and Gross again were victims of hard-but-uncalled hits.
Fortunately, DHS kept to task and at 17:41, Weiss Ñ from 30 yards out Ñ blasted a knuckleball over the head of misdirected ÕCat goalie Kyle Blevins.
Less than a minute later, Weiss intercepted a Franklin pass at midfield, rolled an outlet pass to Ghaffari, who faded into the right corner.
Once there, the senior forward served a pin-point cross to Gross and, voila, 2-0.
With DHS defenders Herrera, Alex OÕHearn and Vivona challenged deep, but holding sway, Davis sauntered into intermission with that comfortable lead.
Just to make sure there was little discussion about who is DVC Top Dog, the Devils stampeded to the goal after the break.
First, Ghaffari scored 1:08 in. Then West converted a penalty kick (thanks to Ghaffari being roughed up in the box).
Lee LeVerrier Ñ just called up from junior varsity Ñ got in on the fun as he found a streaking Ghaffari left of goal.
Ghaffari wasted no time drawing out keeper Blevins and sneaking a left-footed bullet past the sliding Wildcat.
The goal was GhaffariÕs 29th this fall, giving him 108 for his notable Devil career.
As the temperature dropped and the clock ticked, Matt Austin warmed up and hurried up.
Austin scored with three minutes to go, then again off a long-range feed by Herrera just before taps blew.
The Blue Devils finished the regular season 20-3-2 (8-0-2 in DVC). Franklin fell to 14-4-2 (6-2-2 in league).
Yudin expects his to team to have earned a first-round bye, adding that he knows nothing about what next weekÕs Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs hold yet.
Notes: Quinn Kesser received a red card in TuesdayÕs 5-0 win at Elk Grove. Kesser had to sit out Thursday. …The last time the Blue Devils didnÕt win league was 2005 when they finished second to Vintage in the Monticello Empire League. Curiously, DHS beat Tracy for the Sac-Joaquin crown that season. …ÒMatt Austin and Tom Nolan have been playing very well for us at the wings,Ó Yudin added after the win.