Sports

Decatur, Beamer kick way into state tournament

By CASEY OLSON

The Mirror

It’s back to state for the Decatur Gators and welcome to state for the Todd Beamer Titans.

Both teams qualified for 16-team Class 4A State Boys Soccer Championships with wins on Saturday at the West Central/Southwest District playoffs at Tacoma’s Mount Tahoma Stadium. The Gators downed North Kitsap, 2-1, and the Titans beat Stadium, 3-1.

The trip to state will be the first ever for third-year Beamer. The Titans have lost in the district playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

But playing at the state tournament is nothing new for Decatur. The Gators have developed into one of the best soccer programs in the state over the last 20 years and proved it by winning consecutive state championships in 2001 and 2002. In total, Decatur has played in 15 state tournaments since 1980.

The Gators traveled to Vancouver last night to take on the Evergreen Plainsmen (after press time). Evergreen (13-1-3) won the Greater St. Helen’s League and blew away Wilson Saturday at the West Central/Southwest District Tournament, 5-1.

The Titans’ first run at the state tournament also got started last night. Beamer faced the South Puget Sound League North Division-champion Auburn Trojans in Auburn (after press time). The Beamer-Auburn winner will take on the winner of a game between Lake Stevens and Curtis on either Friday and Saturday with a berth into the state semifinals on the line.

The Titans looked like a state-championship caliber team on Saturday against Stadium, especially in the second half.

“The boys played amazing against Stadium,” said Beamer head coach Adam Kulaas. “It was an entire team effort from front to back.”

With the game tied 1-1 at halftime, Beamer’s Rico Sanchez tallied the game-winner in the 54th minute on a pass from Sean Davis. Dalton Thomas put the game out of reach with another second-half goal. Beamer’s first goal was scored by Peyton Lane.

Stadium finished second in the Narrows League Bay Division behind Bellarmine Prep.

Decatur was also impressive in its win over North Kitsap on Saturday.

Kyle Eslick converted on a header after a corner kick by Ciaran O’Brien in the 68th minute to break a 1-1 tie.

Estlick’s goal was the second straight by the Gators. O’Brien erased a 1-0 North Kistap lead in the 20th minute when he rifled a shot off past Vikings goalkeeper Devin Langaker to tie the game.

The winner of the Decatur/Evergreen game will take on the winner of a game between Inglemoor and Snohomish on either Friday or Saturday in the state quarterfinals.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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