By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
Claggett Creek Middle School didn’t look like a first-year program as it dominated Independence on Saturday, June 2 at McNary High School.
Scoring four goals in the first half and eight in the second, the Panthers won 12-0 in the final game of their first regular season.
“Something happens to us. The first half we go pretty slow,” CCMS head coach Jose Mosqueda said. “The second half it’s like a whole new team. We struggle with a lot of teams in the first half and we come back in the second half. I don’t know if it’s a warm up time.”
Eighth grader Aron Montoya, one of Claggett’s two captains, scored the Panthers first goal in the opening seconds. The other captain, Jorge Ruiz, then put CCMS up 2-0. Goals by Xavier Grantham off a corner kick and Sage Allen gave the Panthers a 4-0 lead at intermission.
Ruiz then started the second half with three straight goals to give CCMS a commanding 7-0 advantage. A header by Alejandro Alvarez-Perez with an assist from Angel Vargas made the score 8-0.
After a Ray Pacheco goal stretched the lead to 9-0, Adair Barocio scored the final three goals.
Goalkeepers Ramirez (first half) and Allen (second half) combined for the shutout.
Playing in leagues through the Salem-Keizer Education Foundation and the Keizer Soccer Club, the Panthers finished the regular season with nine wins, two losses and one tie. Both losses came to the 4-H Timber Juniors.
“We had a lot of missing players,” Mosqueda said. “We’ll see (what happens) if we meet in the playoffs again.”
CCMS will play in Keizer Soccer Club’s six-team playoff on Saturday, June 9 at 1:15 p.m. at Whiteaker Middle School with the winners advancing to the championship on Sunday.
Although it’s the first season all of the Claggett kids have played together on one team, the boys have built chemistry together in other sports.
“A lot of these kids have played together in football or track,” Mosqueda said. “They all know each other. They all go to Claggett and the eighth graders are really good leaders on the team so they help with the sixth graders coming up.”