PREPS: Paramount 3-peat just a start
DOWNEY -- Paramount High School had just claimed its third successive CIF Southern Section boys soccer title, an achievement that had several Pirates in tears -- and one of them prostrate, in a sort of blubbering ecstasy.
It's just a start.
Paramount became the third school to win three straight boys' soccer titles Saturday evening, rallying from a quick deficit to upend Channel Islands, 2-1, in the Division 3 final at Warren High School.
Frankie Perez and Jesus Alvarez scored the goals for the Pirates (22-4-3), who have their sights set on something bigger.
Two years ago, after their first championship, Paramount marched to the CIF Southern California Regional Division I crown. Last year's group fell short. This year's team has a statement to make.
“After we lost last year in the quarterfinals, it's still here -- in our heart,” co-coach Rafa Villaseņor said. “These kids want that bad. They want it real bad.
“I know tomorrow when we find out if we're in [this year's regional field] -- hopefully, you know? And start all over from scratch, and how bad do they want it. And that's been our motto, and they want it bad, as you can see.”
Paramount demonstrated how badly they wanted the section championship, dominating Oxnard's Channel Islands (19-3-4) after falling behind less than two minutes after kickoff. A quick counter left Ricardo Blancas alone with Pirates goalkeeper Tony Maldonado, and he did not miss.
It was Paramount's game the rest of the way.
“You know what, that's the difference with our team and the other team, I think: experience,” Villaseņor said. “Experience kicked in where we kept our calm. And we knew what to do. We've been down before. It's nothing new. We kept our calm and composure and played our game.”
Perez netted the equalizer in the ninth minute, and Alvarez scored the winner eight minutes before halftime, nodding a 50-yard Jose Ochoa free kick past Raiders goalkeeper Abdel Compean. Paramount's defense did the rest.
The Pirates joined Santa Barbara (1975-77) and Santa Margarita Catholic (1997-2000 and 2006-08) with three successive trophies. It's happened 10 times in Southern Section girls soccer.
“It's amazing,” Villaseņor said. “It's one of these deals where these kids worked hard since the beginning of the season, since offseason, summertime, and our motto and goal was three-peat all year. 'How bad do you want it?'
“We had our ups and downs throughout the year, and we stuck it our together at the end when it counted. I'm proud of my kids. I love them to death. We're like a family. I can't believe it. It's an awesome feeling. Right now I'm out of words.”