Another 3A North regional tournament is in the books. And once again, Sparks ended it with a regional championship trophy.
Sparks (23-2-1) edged North Tahoe (12-5-6) in title game, 2-1, on Saturday at Lowry to win its third straight title and fourth in five years.
“The boys did a helluva job,” Sparks coach Jose Espana said. “Three in a row. Each one of them seems to get better and better. Hopefully we can keep this train rolling. I’m really proud of the boys.”
The Railroaders grabbed a lead just three minutes in when Brandon Paz scored on an Eric Cervantes assist.
The 1-0 lead held through the half. Jesus Partida added what proved to be a crucial insurance goal in the 50th minute when he converted on a penalty kick.
The Lakers converted on a penalty kick of their own in the final minute of regulation, but couldn’t draw even in stoppage time.
North Tahoe’s penalty kick goal was their second attempt of the half. Sparks goalie Jose Cerritos stopped the first in the 67th minute.
“He (Cerritos) did an awesome job,” Espana said.
North Tahoe finished with four shots on goal (Cerritos blocked them all) compared to Sparks’ 14.
Both teams will go to state next week, starting Friday at Cimarron-Memorial. Sparks will play the 3A South’s No. 2 seed, Chaparral (17-8-1).
The Cowboys lost to Western in the regional title game on Saturday, 2-1, in overtime.