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Farmersville captures 4th Valley title

No. 1 Aztecs dominant in 2-0 victory

12:00 AM, Feb. 23, 2013 EST

Farmersville's Ramon Franco (10) scored the Aztecs' first goal in the Central Section Division IV title game against Avenal. / Ken Weisenberger

Winning never gets old for the Farmersville High School boys soccer team.

The Aztecs have established themselves as the premier boys soccer program in Tulare County and among the elite in the entire Central Section during head coach Michael Jordan's 14-year tenure.

The Aztecs captured a 10th league championship under Jordan earlier this year, and on Friday night they won their fourth Central Section championship.

No. 1 Farmersville stayed true to its seeding with a dominant 2-0 victory over No. 2 Avenal in the Division VI title game.

"It never gets old because you never take it for granted," Jordan said. "I am so blessed to have hard-working young men who put in hours of work in the summer and offseason, and then do it during the season to get to this point."

Fans filled up the stands on both sidelines to watch two of the top teams in the Central Section battle for the championship.

Avenal entered the game on an incredible run. The Buccaneers had not given up a goal since Dec. 8.

But the Aztecs put that streak to an end in the first half on a goal by Ramon Franco in the 37th minute.

Freddy Vazquez helped set the goal up with a run down the right sideline. He crossed the ball to the left side of the field where Pedro Berber controlled the pass and then dropped the ball into the middle of the field where Franco settled and blasted a shot into the back of the net.

Franco just happened to be in the right spot at the right time. He had to leave the game in the seventh minute because he received a yellow card. He entered the game because of an injury to one of his teammates and scored the goal less than two minutes later.

"It was a great feeling," Franco said. "I was upset because I was on the bench and I didn't want to sit the Valley championship. It was great scoring and giving my team hope to win, and we never gave up."

Jordan said he waited longer than he wanted to put Franco, who is one of his team leaders, back into the game because he wanted him to settle down. The timing turned out to be perfect.

"It is one of those things where if you make the right call, you look like a genius. If you make the wrong call, you look like an idiot," Jordan said. "I wanted to put him in earlier, but I was concerned he might get another yellow card. He started the game a little too excited, but he settled down and played great for us."

The Aztecs continued to dominate the action in the second half with their one-goal advantage.

Then with about two minutes remaining, Vasquez got behind the defense after a long kick by goalkeeper Ruben Valencia and blasted a shot into the goal for the 2-0 lead, which kicked off the celebration in Farmersville.

"I know the guys thought it was over," Jordan said about Vazquez's goal. "There's two minutes on the clock and the official was looking at his watch. When that goal went in, we knew it was over. I think Avenal knew it was over. You could see the reaction in their faces."

Franco and Vazquez did what they were supposed to do and finished their scoring opportunities to help lift the Aztecs.

But their defense was also dominant.

Avenal couldn't much of an offensive attack going. Led by junior sweeper Johnny Cervantes, the Aztecs held Avenal to just two shots on goal, both on long direct kicks.

"We played our hearts out," Cervantes said. "I told the guys to leave everything we got out on the field. We don't want to say what if this or what if that tomorrow. I told them if we play our hearts out, we'll be successful. I believed in the team."

Cervantes knew how much winning another Valley title meant -- not only to the team, but the entire community.

"It means a lot. It is another accomplishment for the school and the city," Cervantes said. "This is a very happy moment for us right now."

Jordan said the Valley title is something the entire community will enjoy. He said soccer provides a sense of pride at each of the school levels.

"Soccer is something that Farmersville as a whole can take great pride in, and it is something we love very much," Jordan said. "It is something the whole community can get behind."




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