One of Copper Canyon's school colors, copper, matches the color of coach Justin Bogus' beard.
As for his soccer team's style of play, it doesn't really match with what Bogus' studied. But what matters are the results, and so far the Bogus-Copper Canyon combination seems to be working beautifully in Bogus' second year.
Copper Canyon (18-2 overall) is a flashy yet sound team that entertained its home fans Tuesday with its passing and three goals in its shutout victory over Cibola. Copper Canyon's sleek passing, especially in the first half, brought out the “Ole'!Ole'” chants from its fans, but Bogus also applauded his team's defense after the Division II state game.
It was the 17th time that Copper Canyon held a team scoreless this season.
“There's two ways to look at it,” Bogus said. “We have a really good defense. But we also feel that our possessions are as strong as our defense.”
Bogus' team runs a lot of overlapping plays, something he picked up studying Dutch soccer.
But Copper Canyon is filled with Latino players who also enjoy playing their brand of possession and quick passing soccer. The mix of two styles was on display and working with great success Tuesday.
The first two goals also showed the power Copper Canyon possesses. Sophomore Carlos Franco's blast from outside the 18-yard box was almost stopped by Cibola's goalkeeper, but the ball rolled in.
A long free kick set up Copper Canyon's second goal. Junior Juan Hernandez flicked the free kick back with his head and over the goalkeeper for the 2-0 lead in the first half.
With a minute remaining in the first half, Copper Canyon went from one end of the field to the other to organize its final goal. The build up started with a slide tackle by a defender and ended after Hernandez ran down a pass over Cibola's defense.
With just the goalkeeper in front of him, Hernandez rifled in a left-footed shot to the near post. Copper Canyon, the No. 6 seed, has reached the postseason in six of the past seven seasons, but this is only the second time that the program has reached the second round during that span.
It'll travel to Thunderbird High on Saturday for its next playoff game.
Kofa also advances
In the first game at Copper Canyon, Kofa used a goal and assist by senior forward Frank Mallek to help defeat Verrado 2-1.
Kofa controlled the first half of the match, but Verrado made it an even match during the second half. In the 70th minute, Verrado was rewarded for its second half effort with a goal by Jacob Neumann (22 goals) after Kofa failed to clear a corner kick.
But Verrado failed to score again. Verrado played without one of its leading scorers, freshman Alex Keaveny (21 goals), who was sick.
Kofa scored in the first 10 minutes when Daniel Urias' cross connected with Mallek's head for Kofa's first goal. Mallek assisted on the second goal after his throw in was headed in by junior defender Hugo Miranda.
Kofa, the No. 9 seed, will play at No. 1 seed Catalina Foothills on Saturday.
“Anytime you have a good practice session and to see how it affects a game, it's always nice to see as a coach,” Kofa coach Jamie Nicewander said.