Draper • As Julien Williamson stood over the ball on turf, he had one thing on his mind: He wanted to find a teammate with a dipping cross from 45 yards away.
Instead, the Juan Diego freshman scored the best goal of his young career. His thunderous left foot struck the ball perfectly as it rose high into the sky and began to dip rapidly.
It hit the upper 90 and as the crowd rose in disbelief, the fullback just stood there relishing the highlight of his team’s 4-1 3A first-round victory over Bear River Thursday in Draper.
“He’s damn-near bent our crossbar with some of the shots he’s put on frame from distance,” said Soaring Eagle coach Scott Platz.
Williamson’s memorable goal left a mark on the Juan Diego faithful and even his teammates warming up on the sideline. Players left their hands on their heads for a while still registering the magnificent goal they’d just seen.
“Two percent skill,” said a smiling Williamson, “and 98 percent luck.”
But the Soaring Eagle’s rout was based on more skill than luck against the Bears.
Their offensive attack peppered the Bear River net often in the first half before eventually breaking through three minutes before halftime when Will Bagrou found teammate Tanner Sands with a cross. Sands, a team captain, tucked Bagrou’s cross into the near post for the first goal of the afternoon.
After Williamson scored Juan Diego’s second, Carlos Robles finished a left-footed shot to the far post, off an assist by Bagrou, his second of the day. Jack Saunders added the fourth with 10 minutes remaining.
“It’s taken us a little while to build some chemistry and build an identity,” Platz said. “They’re starting to solve that puzzle a little bit.”
Sands said the team’s struggles throughout the preseason and early on in the Region 10 schedule has helped the team find what pieces fit best where.
“Now on any given day we can beat anyone,” he said. “We’re that kind of team.”
They’ll get their shot Saturday in St. George, where they’ll face the Region 9 champion Desert Hills Thunder at 1 p.m. The forecast, calling for a sunny 86 degrees, will be opposite of what Juan Diego has dealt with in the schizophrenic spring weather in northern Utah.
“It’s one game and you’re done,” Williamson said, “so you can’t leave any regrets.”
Juan Diego 4, Bear River 1
R Soaring Eagle team captain Tanner Sands scores the first goal of the game on a pass from Will Bagrou.