OGDEN — Late in the first half of the Ogden Tigers' first-round 3A playoff match against visiting Judge, Ogden forward Roque Ceja was attacking the goal and sent a slow dribbler toward goalkeeper Bulldog goalkeeper Andrew Matthews.
As Matthews pulled his head, his hands horrifyingly followed and the ball bounced beneath them into the net, giving the Tigers their first goal in a 2-0 victory Thursday afternoon.
"They did not deserve that first goal," Ogden head coach Sterling Castle said afterward. "That 'keeper played a hell of a game. He made a lot of great saves. He did not deserve that first goal."
Ceja was also surprised to see the ball roll into the net.
"I thought he was going to scoop it into his hands, but it just went in," he said. "But, a goal is a goal."
The goal was the 13th of the season for the senior, who has been vital in the team's undefeated run through Region 11.
"He's not afraid to shoot, and you can't score if you don't shoot," Castle said of Ceja. "He's great on the ball. He's got good vision. He's done well for us. He's finally healthy, too."
Midway through the second half, senior Dario Robles added the Tigers' second goal when he corralled a pass in the box and tapped it into the opposite corner of the net.
"I was really hoping we did get a second one because I did not want those guys (Judge) to go out like that." Castle said of Robles' 10th goal of the season. "I would have taken it, honestly, if we would have won with that only goal, but I didn't want it to be that way."
Ogden goalkeeper Auggie Garcia recorded his fourth-consecutive shutout and 11th of the season, a number that tops the state leaderboard. The Tigers, who finished the regular season 13-1-1 and 12-0-0, have allowed just five goals all year and have not given up more than one goal in a single game.
With the win, the Tigers advanced to the 3A quarterfinals where they will host Pine View, the No. 3 seed out of Region 9. A year ago, Ogden lost a heartbreaker to Juan Diego in the semifinals, and the team is looking to redeem itself this year.
Another game means "I get better for myself, be better for all of us on the team, and work toward the championship," Ceja said. "I just want to get into the championship and get everything, give everything that I've got."
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org