Boys Soccer: Warriors Season Ends in Heartbreak


Senior Aidan Burns dribbles through Franklin defence

By Jaden Rapaport, Sports Reporter, Photographer

After their defeat of Newberg, Sunset and then Reynolds in the quarterfinals, it was time for the Warriors to return home to face their archrivals, the Franklin Lightning. After a nearly perfect campaign, Cleveland only slipped up once in the final game of the regular season against the Lightning, meaning they had the perfect revenge opportunity. As for Franklin, they defeated West Salem in the first round before going on the road and beating Lincoln and then Grant to reach this point. It was the first time in both schools’ history that they had gotten to the semifinals but there was only one spot in the final which meant one of the teams would see their run ends in the most bitter of ways.

It was a cold wintery night as fans packed into Warriors Stadium. The atmosphere was electric and as kickoff approached, there was not an empty seat anywhere. Two students sections, not 50 yards apart singing and cheering, ready to witness the game of their lives.

In the first minute of the match, junior Saul Sosa broke through on goal but was denied by a great save by Franklin keeper, Gael Salas-Lara. Just two minutes later it was Franklin’s turn have a chance on goal and they did not pass it up as Finn Rueegger slotted past the keeper into the back of the net to give the Lightning an early 1-0 lead.

From then on, the game was balanced for the most part with each team having a few chances but not finding the net. With about 15 minutes remaining in the first half, the tide of the game shifted and the Warriors began to take control. It felt like a goal was coming but Franklin defending well and got to halftime with the score 1-0.

Cleveland brought more fire power in the second half and continued to dominate. Franklin’s only real chance of the second half came in the 63rd minute when a strike came off the underside of the bar but bounced out.

Despite their dominance, the Warriors were failing to finish in the final third thanks to heroics in goal from Salas-Lara. The clock was widning down on their season as they still trailed by a goal with less than five minutes to go.

In the 76th minute it happened. Junior Saul Sosa took in a ball over the top and with a deft touch beat the keeper to make it 1-1. With a minute remaining, junior Mohamed Mohamed had a chance to win it but his effort came off the post and the game went to extra time.

Tired, worn out, but still invigorated, The teams took the field to play two more 10 minute halves. 

For most of the first period and into the second, the game leveled out but the warriors still had control. Then, without warning, against the run of play, the unthinkable happened. Adam Moar was left open in the box, received a cross and finished to make it 2-1 Franklin in the 95th minute.

A minute later, Cleveland had a penalty shout Sosa went down in the box but it was not awarded. In the 99th minute the warriors had one last chance to level the game but senior Aidan Burns pushed it wide and the Warriors came up short.

Despite getting knocked out to their harsh rivals, the Warriors had an amazing season, losing just twice and making a deep playoff run to the semifinals. This accomplishments should not be forgotten.