Pirates face toughest compeition all season in championship match
It’s the only smear on the Riverside Pirates’ undefeated season. A 2-2 draw against Catlin Gabel not even a week before palyoffs put Riverside’s 13-game winning streak to bed.
Now, the Pirates (16-0-1) will once again face the Eagles (12-0-5) in the 3A/2A/1A state championship match Saturday at Liberty High School in Hillsboro.
The rematch will be only the third time the schools have played eachother in recent years. Last season, the two teams went head-to-head in the semifinals where the Eagles won 4-1 en route to their state title. It was Catlin Gabel’s first championship victory since 2010.
The Eagles again qualified for the playoffs the following season, hoping to repeat, but were knocked out in Round 1.
In 2011, a different team would claim the championship as their own when Riverside brought the title to Boardman for the first time. The Pirates finished a perfect 14-0 that year.
A big part of Riverside’s success this season is its strong senior class. Of the 18-man roster, 12 are seniors and seven of the 12 are starters. Up front, twins Kevin and Miseal Madrigal, Quincy Castillo and Jose Peralta are all key parts of the Pirates attack.
Kevin Ruelas sits in goal, and recently has seen little action in Riverside’s back third.
Ruelas will surely be tested again against Catlin Gabel.
The Eagles have put up 14 goals in their last three wins since the tie against the Pirates. But also like Riverside, Catlin Gabel won’t have the advantage of playing on its home field.
Both teams have fared well on the road. For Riverside, four of its seven shutouts have been elsewhere while three of Catlin Gabel’s five ties have been away. In each match, the Eagles have given up two goals.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. The ticket booths and gates will open at 9:30 a.m. Tickets for adult will be $8, and for students with a current student ID, $5.