The No. 1 teams from each conference matched up in a final battle before playoffs on Thursday in Salt Lake City at the Skyline Stadium. Although the outcome of the game would not affect playoff seeding, the game was a good preview of what might become a championship match. Both teams fought hard. Skyline even came from behind to tie the game, but in the end Herriman held strong to come away with the win 14-10 win.
“It’s a great win for our program,” said Herriman Head Coach Mark Roothoff. “It’s our third year. We are making headway every year and this just shows how much the team stepped up. They’ve done a great job.”
Herriman started off the game looking very strong. They took control of the ball on offense and held it there most of the first quarter. They were able to set up play after play and scored five goals. On the other end of the field, Skyline was held to just two shots, but were able to score on one of them.
Herriman opened the second with a goal within seven seconds of the first whistle. They followed that with another in a man-up opportunity. Being down 7-1 at this point something changed drastically in the way Skyline was playing. They were able to control the ball quite a bit more and increased their shots from two to 14. Both teams scored three points in the quarter.
Skyline was determined to not let this game slip away from them without a fight. The Eagles offense stepped up their game several notches. They began working the ball more and setting up plays. Herriman was held to just two goals, while Skyline scored six, two of which came during man-up situations. The final goal of the quarter, with just 27 seconds remaining, put the score at 10-10.
After losing what was at one time a six point lead, the Mustangs entered the field with a new resolve to not let this game slip away. The Herriman attack stepped up their play dramatically. They were making better plays and also riding hard, forcing the Eagles to make bad passes which resulted in turnovers. Herriman held Skyline scoreless in the final period and scored four points along the way, winning 14-10.
“We are aggressive offensively,” said Roothoff. “We took the ball to the cage. When we do that consistently, we are a pretty good team. My guys, I ask them to step up and they do it.”
Herriman’s offense did a spectacular job of sharing the ball. Five different players scored more than two points and as a team had six assists. Midfielder Ben Richard had three goals and two assists of his own.
Roothoff and the Mustangs are now looking on to playoffs, “We are going to see some good teams there and it’s gonna be tough. We just need to harness some of what we had tonight and use it in the upcoming games.”
Herriman has lost only one game this season and is the No. 1 seed in the North/South Conference. The loss was handed to them by Brighton, a D-I team looking for the No. 1 seed tomorrow against Juan Diego. The Mustangs are averaging 14 points per game while only allowing 5. They will begin their playoff journey against West Jordan (3-8, 3-7).
Skyline is the No. 1 seed for the Davis/Salt Lake Conference. This was their first in-state loss. The Eagles have averaged 11 points a game, giving up 6.75. They will face Box Elder or Timpview in their first playoff game next Wednesday.