The Spanish Fork Warriors beat the Timpanogos Timberwolves by the score of 8-7 on Saturday in Park City to claim the 2011 Boys D-II Championship. The Warriors lost to the T-Wolves in the 2010 Championship game by the same score.
Timpanogos came out firing on all cylinders, scoring the first three goals of the game. Timpanogos Attackmen Tanner Marsh, midfielder Jon Wagstaff and attackmen Jake Hougaard all notched goals in what appeared to be the first sign of a rout.
Spanish Fork held strong and didn’t give up, notching a goal late in the quarter by Algee Baxter. Timpanogos stole back the momentum with 15 seconds left in the quarter on a goal by Hougaard.
Spanish Fork scored first in the second quarter on an extra-man opportunity after Timpanogos was penalized for a slash. Midfielder Bennett Jamaca dodged and burned his defender, shooting a low bounce shot for the goal to bring the score to 4-2 in favor of the T-Wolves.
A minute later, Spanish Fork scored again after Timpanogos was flagged for three different penalties, allowing the Warriors to capitalize on a three man advantage as midfielder Jarom Plewe shot an outside rip for the goal. Timpanogos scored at the six minute mark and again with 30 seconds left to take a 6-3 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was a battle of defenses as both teams fought hard for loose balls and offensive possessions. Spanish Fork notched the only goal of the quarter at the 8:31 mark when attackmen David Takasaki took the ball from the behind the cage, wrapped around and found the only space available between the pipes.
Spanish Fork scored two goals in the beginning of the fourth quarter to tie the game at 6. Both teams continued to fight and battle, but Spanish Fork was winning the little battles.
With three minutes left in the game, Spanish Fork stole the ball in their defensive end, moved the ball to midfield to Casey James who took it into the box, weaving and dodging through the entire Timpanogos defense, shooting a low bounce shot past Timpanogos Goalie Cameron Wilkey, giving the Warriors the lead.
Timpanogos won the ensuing face-off and took a great shot, but it was saved by Spanish Fork Goalie Taylor Rowley. Spanish Fork was unable to clear, leading to another shot by Timpanogos but another save by Rowley kept the two goal lead for the Warriors. Rowley outletted the ball to his defender who threw the ball to the top of the opposing box. The Timpanogos defense was caught sleeping and Spanish Fork Attackmen Jake Merrill slipped behind and caught the pass, taking it down for a one-on-one chance with Wilkey. Merrill appeared to be running behind the cage but at the right moment, unleashed a behind-the-back shot for the goal.
Timpanogos would score with a minute left but the Spanish Fork defense kept the T-Wolves out of the middle of the field, forcing Timpanogos to take bad shots and eventually running out of time.
“We knew it was going to be tight,” said Spanish Fork Head Coach Phil Dunn. “The defense has always been good this year and we knew we could hunker down and play tight. We knew if we put points on the board we could win.”
Spanish Fork was led by Jamaca who had 2 goals. Six other Warriors had 1 goal each. Timpanogos was led by Morgan Dickerson who had 2 goals. Five other T-Wolves had 1 goal each. Timpanogos won 13 face-offs compared to only 6 for Spanish Fork.
Wilkey had 7 saves while Rowley had 8.
“We considered taking Rowley out because he had a rough first half,” said Dunn. “We’re glad we didn’t though because his saves in the third quarter were huge momentum shifters.”
With the win, Spanish Fork finished the season with 14 wins and 4 losses. This is the first State Championship for Spanish Fork.