Oakley School pulls a Grand stunner
Tim Campbell didn’t bother telling his players they were going to take on a team that had made it to the 2A state finals in consecutive years.
Campbell channeled his inner Sigmund Freud and his Oakley School Explorers pulled off an amazing upset Wednesday afternoon, defeating Grand 1-0 in Moab.
"We tried to downplay that a little bit," said Oakley’s head coach. "We just told them we were confident in them."
Midfielder Justin Scott scored a wondrous goal in the 77th minute as he made, according to Campbell, nearly a 50-yard dead sprint toward the Grand goal on an Oakley counterattack.
A cross from the wing came to Scott, who chest-trapped the ball, turned and fired a right-footed volley to the near post of the goal, past the Red Devils goalkeeper.
"We’ve had a lot of success due to our work rate," Campbell said. "Justin is just one of those kids that flies up and down the sidelines all the time. Grand’s field is a little bigger than ours. He was noticeably tired.
"Amazing poise and composure in front of the goal."
Once Scott scored the game-winner for Oakley, he ran to celebrate with his teammates on the sideline. The Explorers’ bench was in pure bedlam, but Campbell had work to do.
"I had to contain our players from running on the field and mobbing him," he said.
When asked if the first-year soccer players in the program’s first year of existence knew they had an opportunity to make something happen traveling down to Moab, Campbell said, "I think they believed they could do it. But they were also really surprised and happy when it happened."
Oakley keeper Ryan Heath recorded the shutdown, making clutch saves when had had to, "standing big several times," according to Campbell.
Next up, the unprecedented Oakley run takes the Explorers to Ogden today where they’ll face a strong St. Joseph Catholic squad at 1 p.m. The Jayhawks are 8-5 this year and are coming off a 3-2 victory in the first round against Layton Christian in which they scored three second-half goals.
Oakley hasn’t had its stellar sweeper Joe Finn the last few matches of the season, but Campbell is hoping Finn can make the trip to Ogden.
"The other guys have stepped in; our defense yesterday was amazing," he said. "(Grand) had a ton of speed. Our boys were just playing defense yesterday."
The unlikeliest of teams can continue to make postseason noise this weekend, but Campbell, his staff, his players and the entire school are just trying to enjoy the ride at each stop.
"A 10-hour road trip in one day is typically not something I’d look forward to, but with this group of guys, I enjoyed it," he said. "Getting off the bus and playing a game like that was very impressive. It was pure effort."
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