Offense Explodes as Talent, Hard Work Pushes Tigers Forward
Jun 01, 2016 09:44AM
By Bryan Scott
By Travis Barton | [email protected]
Ogden - Defense may win championships, but you still have to score. And the Ogden High Boys Soccer Team is scoring, a lot.
Ogden has averaged almost three goals per game through its first 11 games. On a talent-laden team with outside backs making continuous runs forward and gifted distributors in the midfield, it’s Ogden’s new three-pronged attack that may have the most to do with it.
Gabi Sanchez, Jaxon Clarke and Anthony Cazarez are the front three in the Tigers 4-3-3 formation and have played integral parts in Ogden’s offense going forward.
“They’re close and they like each other, which always helps,” head coach Sterling Castle said.
Through the end of April the Tigers held an 8-3 record having won its last four games by a combined score of 17-1. In a game against Bountiful that ended 6-0, five of those goals came from Sanchez, Clarke and Cazarez.
Sanchez said the team has the mindset to start strong and score as quickly as possible.
“Usually once we score, we’ll score another pretty quick after so the earlier we score, the more goals we’ll have throughout the game,” Sanchez said.
“If the opportunity is there, put [the ball] in [the net] and no one can stop what’s gonna come,” Clarke said of the team’s offensive mindset.
The team’s recent winning streak came after a “wake-up call” loss to Highland on April 12.
Castle said it was three points worth sacrificing if it meant the team used it to their advantage realizing talent wouldn’t be enough.
“[The kids] turned it into a positive, they’ve decided to put the work in, they know what it takes to win and they’re willing to do it now,” Castle said.
“That [game] really shook us up and showed that anybody can beat anybody so we have to come out and play strong every game,” Clarke said.
Cazarez said the loss really put the team goals into perspective.
“It opened our eyes that if we want to take state and region and we can’t afford to lose another game,” Cazarez said.
Due to transfer rules, Cazarez first game with the team wasn’t until April 26, nine games into the season. Already hitting his stride, Cazarez scored two goals against Bountiful on April 29.
Even though it had only been a few games, the three forwards have known each other for years whether from playing on the same club team or attending the same junior high.
“We’re really good friends so that helps our chemistry a lot,” Sanchez said.
“It’s our communication and just hanging out off the field, being friends and stuff,” Clarke added.
That chemistry has now translated onto the field.
Sanchez said trust between them plays a big role in their ability to combine on the field.
“We have confidence in each other, we know where we want the ball and when we want it,” Sanchez said.
Cazarez said it’s not just the forwards, but the whole team’s communication is a big part of their chemistry.
“This team just has a special bond. If we ever fight, we just sit down, talk about it and move on,” Cazarez said.
Clarke, who plays football and basketball as well, said this team is unique.
“It’s the heart that we have, the way that we wanna play together is incredible,” Clarke said. “I’ve never seen it before.”
It’s that heart ingredient that Castle stresses the team needs to achieve its goals.
“We have a talented team, but you’ve gotta have heart and hard work or you won’t compete,” Castle said.
Adding those intangibles to the team’s talent, Sanchez said, has taken the team to a new level.
“We know we’re pretty good but lately what’s made us better is working hard instead of relying on our talent,” Sanchez said.
The players hope that combination will take them far in the playoffs.
“As long as we’re playing hard and working hard we’ll have a chance, no matter who we play,” Castle said.