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The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

OT OPERA: Sunny Hills boys soccer team wins CIF title, defeating Norte Vista 1-0 – the Lancers’ third straight victory in overtime since the quarterfinals

Grace Johnson
After accepting the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship plaque, the Sunny Hills Boys soccer players and the coaching staff gather Saturday, Feb. 26, for a team photo. The Lancers defeated Norte Vista 1-0 in overtime at Ramona High School in Riverside to claim a second CIF title since 2016.

Overtime opera.

Those are the words to describe the last three CIF playoff games that the Sunny Hills boys soccer team competed in – culminating in the Saturday, Feb. 26, 1-0 OT victory against Norte Vista at Riverside’s Ramona High School in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship final.

“I knew that either team was gonna have one chance to win the game or lose the game so I knew that if I had that chance, I had to put it away,” said forward junior Mathias Brown, who scored the winning goal 8 minutes into overtime.

The Lancers’ wild journey began Feb. 18 in the quarterfinal matchup against Palmdale at La Habra High School, where the Lancers prevailed after two, 10-minute overtime periods leading to penalty kicks (the Lancers outscored the Falcons 3-1).

Four days later on Feb. 22, Sunny Hills found itself in double overtime again in the CIF semifinal round against Valley View of Moreno Valley at Valley View High School. But instead of having to win the game with penalty kicks, the 1-1 tie ended in double overtime in an unexpected manner – one of the opposing players inadvertently headed the ball into his own goal in extra time within the last 2 minutes. 

“The team’s perseverance is just amazing.” head soccer coach Mike Schade said upon reflecting on the last three playoff victories. “So many overtime and 1-0 games. I’m really happy for these guys and they deserve [the championship] tonight.”


It was another defensive affair for the co-Freeway League champion Lancers (18-3-4) in the CIF title matchup against the Braves (16-4-6).  Neither team scored during regulation though each team had its chances to do so.

Five minutes into the first half, Brown blasted an attempted shot from 20 yards out; however, Norte Vista’s goalkeeper, junior Kevin Nevarez, punched the ball away. 

“I shot the ball as hard as I can but it went directly at the goalkeeper’s hands so I knew it probably wasn’t going into the back of the net,” Brown said.

More than 10 minutes later, it was the Braves’ turn to threaten to score. In the 13th minute, one of Norte Vista’s defenders was awarded a free kick 30 yards out after being fouled by an SH player. That ended in another failed scoring attempt as the Norte Vista player curved the ball into the box for a header that barely missed the net and hit the left post. 

The team’s perseverance is just amazing…So many overtime and 1-0 games. I’m really happy for these guys and they deserve [the championship] tonight.

— head coach Mike Schade

“The header was scary for sure, but we have been training for a while for stuff like that,” said goalkeeper senior Logan Williams, who had four saves throughout the game.

Going into the second half, as the Lancers were about to take control of the ball, defender senior Dylan Dohan made a challenge on Norte Vista defender junior Jayro Dominguez that resulted in a yellow card for the Lancers. 

“Their defense was giving our attack a lot of frustration, “ midfielder junior Logan Connor said. “They were good on the ball and barely made any mistakes.”

If the yellow card wasn’t enough for Sunny Hills, midfielder senior Victor Quiroz landed incorrectly after going up for a header and was subbed off in the 54th minute with forward junior Samuel Takaki. 

As the clock fell to 19 minutes, junior Jerry Guerrero dribbled to the left side of the field and passed the ball into the box, where his teammate had a great shot but was blocked by the Lancers.

Near the end of the second half, Brown received the ball at half field and used his speed to dribble all the way in front of the goal where he attempted to close the game out, but Nevarez was there again to save the Braves. 


With the score still at 0-0, the game would go to a golden goal rule over time with a 10-minute sudden-death period in which the first team to score wins.

In the huddle before the start of OT, Schade reminded his players of the importance of sticking with the game plan: “Defense first! We get our stops first and then we try to counter.” 

The players then ended their huddle with the loud chanting of “Lancers” before heading back onto the field to begin the 10-minute sudden-death showdown.

Just like the Lancers, the Braves had overtime experience as they secured a 2-1 win in double overtime against Los Amigos High School.

Once again, defense ruled the day for the majority of OT. 

“It was intense in those last 8 minutes,” midfielder sophomore Henry Garcia said. “I was just hoping we could find an opening and luckily we got one.”

But Norte made its first major mistake of the night with two minutes left. 

Lancers forward senior Justin Coen, whom Schade had subbed onto the field during the second half, played a long pass to Brown, who beat defender junior Frank Valladares roughly 10-yards away from the goal.

That was the mistake Brown and his teammates had hoped for, as the two-year starter – also a kicker for the Lancers’ football team – dribbled around the goalkeeper, who decided to leave the goal to attempt to prevent Brown from scoring.

With a wide-open net, the crowd slowly started to raise their excitement as Brown got closer to the goal. 

Brown curved the ball into the back right corner of the net. 

The bench exploded and rushed the field while coaches jumped in excitement together. The crowd erupted with cheers.

“As soon as I saw that ball go in the net — Oh my God! — there’s so much emotion,” Brown said in an interview with the Orange County Register.

Brown said at the moment he was in disbelief. 

“I don’t even know what to say,” he said. “This game was hard, I was waiting for this moment, and I still can’t believe it right now.”

Going into the game, Schade said he knew Norte Vista was a tough opponent to beat but said his players kept to the game plan. 

“We were playing against an incredibly tough team,” he said. “But we got our stops and that nice pass to Mathias, who did his thing and beat the keeper and scored.”


The Lancers will only have one school day to celebrate their second CIF title since 2016 with their peers on campus as they will have to prepare for the first round of state playoffs.

The team will face Panorama High School (17-2-3) Tuesday, March 1, at 5 p.m. in a home game as part of the first round of state CIF playoffs, where the Lancers could end up seeing Norte Vista again if both teams advance. 

Though the Lancers will be the home team, the game will take place at Buena Park High School, which has a soccer field with lights, unlike Sunny Hills. 

“For us to advance to the championship game and win it we are going to have to keep playing just great defense,” Schade said. “Our chances of winning will just be based on how well we defend each team.”

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Grace Johnson, Web Managing Editor
Going into her senior year, Grace Johnson is the managing web editor and helps run the first ever podcast for The Accolade. Previously the assistant sports editor, she loves to report for her favorite section — sports. Along with playing outfield for the varsity softball team at school, Johnson also plays the guitar, travels, goes fishing, listens to country music, surfs and loves watching baseball.
Alex Lee, Staff Reporter
After his year-long Journalism 1 experience during his freshman year, sophomore Alex Lee joins The Accolade to further pursue his writing career. He enters The Accolade this fall semester as a staff reporter and seeks an editor position in his future years. Through The Accolade, he plans to publish stories to bring entertainment to his readers and be a part of this award-winning newspaper. Although expecting several struggles, Lee hopes to overcome them with his accomplishments to The Accolade. In his spare time, Lee enjoys playing soccer and hanging out with friends.
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