They play at opposite ends of the pitch.
There’s Connor Anderson, waaaaay in the back, protecting things to the left of the Davis High goal.
Up top, it’s Cameron Cuvelier in the right corner, trying to center the ball or get himself in position for a striking chance.
When both do their jobs, the Blue Devil boys usually come away with a victory.
Such was the case Tuesday afternoon, when Cuvelier scored the go-ahead goal and Anderson made life miserable for visiting attackers as Laguna Creek lost a 2-0 Delta Valley Conference decision.
“Cameron put that goal away, which I thought was crucial. It was a turning point in the game,” said DHS interim head coach Alex Park. “I thought he had a really good game.”
On another sizzling afternoon — with the mercury hovering around 100 degrees — the two schools parried and thrusted to no avail through a mind-numbing first 40 minutes.
About 100 fans, most huddled in what little shade Yudin Field provided, could sense the tide turning as Davis began to push the ball at the Cardinal net.
The Devils took the final three shots of the first half and would come out on fire in the second period.
Cuvelier and Alex McIntyre just missed teaming up for a goal only 90 seconds after intermission. Fifteen seconds later, Alex Herman and Kian Bagheri couldn’t quite click on another chance.
But with DHS’ pressure mounting, the locals finally broke through on The Creek’s senior goalie Austin Hipolito.
McIntyre collected an entry pass, pressed his advantage to the left of Hipolito, then sent a pass across the box to a charging Cuvelier. Despite a hip hop, Cuvelier — arms down — guided the ball with his torso into the right corner.
Whew. For the sweaty Blue-and-White throng, the goal was a tropical breeze. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were feeling more heat.
Estevan Carrillo’s smash was turned away on a brilliant diving save by Hipolito. Alex Perez found Cuvelier with a nice through ball, but Laguna’s Edwin Tejada made a solid defensive play.
McIntyre and Collin Holtz then combined on a terrific chance, but Holtz — standing in the goal mouth — was screened by a defender and McIntyre’s center rolled sheepishly through the box.
But with just under 10 minutes in the contest, Devil Rami Rashmawi’s corner kick was knocked around by a defender, then Hipolito, and settled at the feet of a poaching Alex Raya …
Say no more, 2-0!
As the thermometer popped, so did tempers on both sides.
After a hard tackle of Holtz by Samuel Deharo, the pair exchanged words and rose to a shoving match.
Once separated, the official waved red cards at both and the final minutes of the contest ended in uneventful 10-on-10 action.
“I didn’t think it should be a red card,” Park said afterward. “It was retaliation on Collin’s part. But I told (the players) I need all my horses, which we don’t have on Thursday — which disturbs me. Lesson learned? Just don’t do it.”
Despite playing injured — two sore shoulders — Anderson again excelled on a backline that held Laguna Creek without a second-half shot.
“I thought Connor had a really good game,” Park said of his defender. “He has filled that back hole tremendously, along with the whole back line.
“Another thing, he is a true left-footer. It’s very valuable having Connor back there on the left instead of a right-footer.”
Notes: Now, Davis travels to Monterey Trail for a Thursday game (6:30 p.m.) and then will host Jesuit on Saturday in a nonleague biggie. Game time, according to DHS Athletic Director Dennis Foster, is 8 p.m. with the junior varsity playing before. The game will be played at Ron & Mary Brown Stadium on campus at Davis High. Admission will be charged. … The Devils are now 7-3-3 overall and 2-0-1 in DVC. The Cardinals fell to 2-6-2, 0-3 in conference. … The Blue Devils outshot their guests, 13-4. Holtz’s red card means the forward will miss the Monterey Trail game but will be back for Jesuit. Attacker D.J. Villegas is on the shelf with a broken toe. Park says his junior national team player will “train with us and probably play Thursday. If not then, certainly he will return on Saturday.”
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8047.