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Saints sweep parochial soccer rivals

12/27/2013, 8:57pm PST
By Glae Thien, Special to the U-T

St. Augustine defeats Santa Ana Mater Dei and Concord De La Salle in tournament play.

— With two minutes remaining in regulation play of a tie game, St. Augustine soccer player John Willeford spoke up from the bench.

“Let me back in,” the Saints senior told coach Brendan Johnston. “I’ll put one in.”

Given the chance, Willeford responded with the game-winning goal to lift St. Augustine past Concord De La Salle 2-1 in the 19th annual Southern California Classic tournament at La Costa Canyon High on Friday.

It was a dramatic finish to a divine day for Willeford as the Saints (6-1-2) prevailed in their first meetings ever with two fellow parochial schools prominent in the state. Earlier, Willeford recorded his first goal of the season to contribute to a 3-1 victory over Santa Ana Mater Dei to start pool play in the Showcase West Division.

In the nightcap, Willeford converted on the run off a crossing pass from Brenner Jarrad in the closing seconds before two minutes of added time was applied.

“I knew it was going to happen,” said Willeford, a reserve who splits time at forward. “We’d been practicing that play all week, and I put it to good use.”

To open the scoring, St. Augustine senior Cheyne Davis converted in the 16th minute. The Spartans (2-2-2) pulled even three minutes into the second half.

“I had a feeling we were going to come back and win,” Davis said. “We have one of our strongest teams.”

Fernando Galan and Ike Arinze also scored in the Saints’ opening win.

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