Prep boys' soccer: Ogden's Garcia is a wall between the pipes
Auggie Garcia can be viewed as Ogden's most dynamic offensive weapon.
But the junior wears a different color jersey than his Tiger teammates as a star between the pipes and Ogden's starting goalkeeper who has helped keep many teams off the scoring sheet this season.
"He gives the rest of our team freedom to take chances and go forward," Ogden coach Sterling Castle said.
That's because he's good enough to organize the defense, read the game and, when needed, stop one-on-one situations with opposing forwards.
Those sink-or-swim moments are his favorite part of playing goalie.
"I really don't think about it," he said. "I just jump right into it."
That mentality is working for the Tigers (13-1-1), who are considered one of the premier Class 3A teams heading into this week's playoffs, and it would be hard to think where they would be without Garcia, an athletic keeper who has allowed just five goals this season. Castle said only two of those five goals have come during run of play.
"He's a kind of a street-smart kid, and he can read people really well," Castle said. "He observes everything. He's able to take what he sees and make decisions really quickly. He's not afraid to make a decision right or wrong. He'll make it and go."
Such as the decision to put on those padded gloves and be the last line of defense. Garcia, a former left back, didn't start playing goalie full time until his eighth-grade year when his team needed a keeper. Naturally, he volunteered.
Before he made the move, he was one of those players who jumped in front of net and jokingly dared friends to score on him.
"Yeah," he said, laughing, "that was pretty much me."
He's been nothing short of stellar since making the move.
While the Tiger offense has pummeled opposing defenses, Garcia and his defense have racked up shutout after shutout 10 in all this season.
"His reaction time is incredible," Castle said. "I've had some quick keepers, but he can get to the bottom post faster than anyone I've ever seen."
Garcia's reaction time will have to be top-notch if Ogden wants to supersede its 2012 finish, a 3-2 loss to Juan Diego in the 3A semifinals.
"The key is we work hard in practice and we continue to do it in our games," Garcia said. "Our team doesn't give up. We love defense, and we play hard."
That combination of hard work and eagerness to defend will be tested against the top teams in 3A starting this week, and in the middle of the mix will be Auggie Garcia, asked to continue to stonewall the state's top finishers.
"The thing is, when we've needed him, he's always been there," Castle said.
All games at 4 p.m.
• Intermountain Christian at American Leadership
• Rowland Hall at Gunnison
• Wasatch Academy at Summit Academy
• Beaver at Oakley
• Waterford at Manti
• Legacy Prep at Merit Academy
• Parowan at Layton Christian
• Grand at St. Joseph
• Park City at Region 11 No. 2
• Cedar at Spanish Fork
• Morgan at Desert Hills
• Region 11 No. 3 at Juan Diego
• Delta at Dixie
• Stansbury at Wasatch
• Judge at Ogden
• Pine View at Payson