ELKO, Nev. --Many great games dot the history between the Sparks and South Tahoe
boys soccer teams.
Friday's wasn't one of them.
In the battle between the last two state champions, the defending state
champion, Sparks, routed South Tahoe 5-0.
The South Tahoe Vikings had no answer for the speedy Sparks forwards, who
scored four goals in the first half to quickly take all of the drama out of
"They're extremely well-rounded players. They're fast and they kept their
composure," South Tahoe coach Hugo Lizaola said. "We lacked all of that."
Sparks' Ruben Pacheco started the scoring frenzy for the Sparks Railroaders
with back-to-back goals in the 8th and 15th minute.
The first came on a through-ball from Edwin Navarro, as the South Tahoe
defenders begged for an offsides call.
The second came right in front of the goal when Pacheco received a ball from
Hector Hernandez and slapped the ball from 8-yards out to the right side of
The South Tahoe goalie got a hand on the ball, but it had enough force to
carry itself into the goal.
In the 30th minute a misplayed header by South Tahoe made it 3-0 and Kevin
Partida added a penalty kick in the 33rd after he was fouled in the box.
In the 50th minute Partida added his second goal on a free kick to make it
"We're just firing on all cylinders. The kids have their minds on the goals
that they've set," coach Frank Avilla said. "The boys took this game,
Despite the score, it was a heated game for both teams as each side received
four yellow cards in the match.
Sparks only has three starting seniors and a young nucleus, but it still
looked very much like the defending state champions.
South Tahoe ends a season plagued by injuries, including losing its best
player, Rodolfo Castillo, in the first three weeks to a season-ending ACL
"It is what it is," Lizaola said.
South Tahoe was 6-4 in league play and graduates seven seniors.
With Friday's victory, the Railroaders clinched a state-playoff berth for
the fourth straight year. In that time, they've been the state-runner ups
twice and won their first state championship in the program's history last
"I don't know how they do it to be honest with you," Avilla said.
They face Truckee at 10 a.m. today in the regional championship game.
Truckee is 9-1 in league play and is the only team to defeat Sparks this
season. Sparks is also 9-1 and beat Truckee in the first two meetings of the
year between the two teams.
"We're going to give it our best and they will," Avilla said.