Sandy • They had a losing record in the regular season after losing seven straight games. They came into the 6A boys’ soccer championship tournament as the No. 18 seed.
But none of it mattered.
The Herriman Mustangs did the improbable, the unthinkable, when junior midfielder Trevor Walk scored with two seconds remaining to lift his team to a 1-0 victory over the Davis Darts and win the team’s first championship in school history.
“To be able to be first year with this team as a head coach and to bring it home when there was so much doubt behind it, it’s a memory of mine that will go right up there with the birth of my kids and the marriage to my wife,” first-year Herriman coach Marcello Gasperini said.
Herriman and Davis went scoreless for 78 minutes and 58 seconds before Walk’s dagger. The first half featured a whole lot of nothing before the action picked up in the second half.
The Mustangs were actually ready to play in a third consecutive game that would feature overtime after having done so in the previous two rounds of the tournament. But Walk yelled at his teammates in the final seconds to put the ball in play so they could have one last shot at the goal.
“[I] happened to squeeze it through the first defender,” Walk said. “I took a touch and just tried to put it on net and hit it. It went through the keeper’s hand and it was just crazy.”
After the final whistle, Walk celebrated in front of the Davis student section.
Walk said he felt Herriman had gotten lucky throughout the season with not being able to put the finishing touches on close games. But the Mustangs ended the regular season with two straight victories and rode that momentum in the championship tournament.
“Once playoffs came, our mentalities were just there,” Walk said. “We were hungry for the wins.”
Walk also said the team played the underdog role well and alluded to there being more pressure on opponents to beat the lower-seeded Mustangs.
“Every game, we were talking, ‘We have nothing to lose. These other teams should be scared of us because if they’re losing, they’re losing to an 18 seed,’” Walk said.
Gasperini said that from the moment tryouts happened before the season, he told his players that they were a championship team. They think, train, bond, and battle for position on the field like champions.
But it wasn’t always easy to get his team to believe it was a champion considering the struggles during the season.
“The hardest part is getting them to continue to believe it,” Gasperini said. “As a coach, I see the talent, I know the players and I know that we can be a better team. But losing seven in a row is brutal. It’s just insanely hard as a player, hard as a coach, too.”
But key players continued to step up for Herriman. And the final player to do so was Walk, who became a high school hero in a matter of seconds.
“It feels amazing,” Walk said when asked how he felt about his hero status. “Never would imagine it would happen.”
Editor’s note • A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the coach of Herriman’s boys’ soccer team.
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