One team has a shot at the playoffs. The best the other could do was play spoiler.
On Wednesday night at Placer High School, the records didnât matter. As usual when Placer and Colfax meet, an exciting, up-and-down-the-field game came down to one huge goal, and the Hillmen got it in the 1-0 victory.
âNo matter where anybody is in the standings, when these two teams meet, itâs always close,â Colfax coach David Ray said. âIt was either going to be 0-0 or 1-0 no matter what. It was just whether someone was going to poke one in.â
Fittingly, it was Tanner Federico who poked on in, scoring on a rebound in a scramble in front of Colfaxâs goal midway through the second half. It was Federicoâs team-leading 12th goal, second in the Pioneer Valley League.
âWe were pretty balanced overall,â Placer coach Dave Brown said. âEverybody played pretty well. It was a typical Colfax-Placer game, back and forth. Both teams created a lot of opportunities. It was a pretty exciting game.â
The chances didnât stop with Federicoâs goal. Colfax had a couple of chances to tie it late, including one golden opportunity when Coleman Young got the ball behind Placerâs defense and rifled a shot that Placer keeper Jonathan Kostka somehow kept out of the net.
âA spectacular save late in the game to seal the win,â Brown called it.
âTheir keeper made a great save,â Ray said.
Joey Kaestner played very well in goal for Colfax, Ray said, and Robby Jones was his usual strong self in the middle of the field. Calan Martel started in back, but Ray moved him forward as the game progressed, and he created several opportunities for the Falcons. Ray also praised the efforts of Lukas Harrison and Dane Reimers.
With the win, coupled with Center losing to Lincoln, Placer (7-9-1, 5-5 PVL) moved into third place in the PVL. Center, at 4-5 in league, has a makeup game today against Colfax (6-12-1, 2-7 PVL). A Colfax win or tie would advance Placer to the playoffs. Should Center win, third place in the league would come down to a tiebreaker.
Ray was well aware of the situation. Oddly, perhaps, for a rivalry, he said Colfax would welcome the opportunity to play spoiler against Center and see Placer get into the playoffs.
âWe all know each other,â he said. âWhen weâre not playing against Placer, we want Placer to do well. Itâs something to fight for, for guys that we know and we like.â
Of course Brown would like the Hillmen to keep playing, but he was happy on Wednesday that they finally got to play at home.
âIt was a big crowd, nice to have the support at our first and only home game in our stadium,â he said. Placer has been forced to play its home matches at neutral sites such as Del Oro as the wet winter has played havoc with its field. âThe school band was here. It was a pretty festive atmosphere. It was beautiful weather, perfect soccer weather.â
And that is probably the first time those words have been spoken in Northern California this winter.