The Grangeville boys' state tournament hopes ended Tuesday night, Oct. 10, when Timberlake held on for a 2-1 win during the second round of the District I-II tournament. Having elimnated Orofino 3-2 the previous night, the Bulldogs made a close game of it with a goal from the left side by Amador Perez, and could have tied it had a ruling on the field gone a bit differently.
"They called a foul in the box, which automatically a penalty kick, but they moved it outside the box," head coach Joel Gomez said. "Instead of having 1-on-1 against their keeper -- I'm sure we would have scored -- it was a direct free kick at about half as much of the goal, and farther away."
Gomez called it a physical game, but also a great one.
"They would shove us in the back and get their elbows up, and we didn't know how to play that way," he said "We knew it was a step we had to take to go to state, but we were tired from having played four in six days."
Still, Gomez praised players Ryan Ruklic, Emilio Barela, Bryan Ruiz, Mickey Nelson and "most everyone on the team."
Against Orofino, Grangeville led 3-0 before Orofino struck back with two goals in five minutes.
"We knew we could win against them any time any day, and when we got ahead the guys slowed down," Gomez said. "Orofino almost caught us, but we played all the players on the team and in the end we got the result."
Grangeville graduates three seniors, but also figures to add several strong freshmen next fall, including a goalkeeper who has been training for many years: Gomez's son, Brian.
"I also want to say thank you to all the parents who came to every game, especially during the district tournament," Gomez added.