Santiago's Israel Espinoza celebrates with teammates after beating Chino, 1-0, in the CIF-SS Division 5 boys soccer final Saturday at Corona High.

Santiago wins first CIF-SS boys soccer title


CORONA - At first, Santiago boys soccer coach Sean Redmond thought it was a joke when Julio Galicia said he wanted to do the long throws for the Cavaliers.

The sophomore midfielder is the smallest kid on the team, so how would he be able to chuck a ball halfway across the field?

While Redmond had his doubts, he gave Galicia a shot, and in the end he helped Santiago make school history.

A few moments after subbing into Saturday’s game, Galicia tossed the ball through a crosswind to the far side of the box and onto the head of Jafet Sanchez, who knocked the ball into the left side of the goal at Corona High.

Sanchez’s goal in the 58th minute was the winner as the Cavaliers edged Chino, 1-0, in the CIF-SS Division 5 championship to become the first Santiago boys soccer team to claim a Southern Section title.

“It (throwing the ball) is a talent that I came up with when I was small,” Galicia said. “When I saw the ball go in, I felt excited for the whole team. This means a lot to us and to the whole school. We made history.”

For Sanchez, his 13th goal of the season made up for having his penalty kick slapped away by Chino goalkeeper Fernando Angulo in the 15th minute.

“This is a blessing,” Sanchez said. “I just want to thank God for everything that he has given us.

“When I saw the ball go in, the first thing I did was give thanks to God for giving me the opportunity to score.”

While David Yepez scored a team-high 24 goals this season, which put him in a tie for second place in the county, it was Israel Espinoza, the Cavaliers’ 6-foot-4 senior defender, who might have been the pivotal player in Santiago’s championship run.

Espinoza, the Garden Grove League MVP who has committed to Cal State Bakersfield, gave Chino few scoring chances.

The Cowboys threatened mostly on set pieces, and in the 43rd minute, they came within inches of taking the lead, but Baldemar Martinez headed an Angel Flores corner kick just wide of the near post.

“This is an exhilarating experience,” Redmond said. “I am so happy. It is crazy. I knew this team had the talent to make it here. We made it to the semis last year, but you never know. Each team has its own personality. This year, everything just turned out fabulous.”

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