By Jeremy Balan
The two basketball teams capped what was likely the best single day in Sacred Heart Cathedral’s athletic history, but the Irish boys soccer team got the ball rolling.
Behind two goals from senior forward Johnny Rojas, the third-seeded Irish rallied back from an early deficit to beat fifth seed North Monterey County in the Central Coast Section Division III championship game at Gilroy High School. The win gives Sacred Heart (14-6-4) its first section soccer championship in school history.
The Condors (20-3-1) struck first on a goal midway through the first half, but Rojas equalized in the 34th minute on an assist from fellow senior Dashiell MacNamara.
Rojas put the Irish ahead in the 60th minute on an assist from junior Oscar Reyes, but it was MacNamara that saved the day in the final moments of stoppage time.
The Condors had two corner kicks in the extra time and on its last, Sacred Heart junior goalkeeper Connor Anderson came out to challenge the ball and a North Monterey player put the ball past the keeper, that appeared to be destined for the back of the net.
But MacNamara, standing on the goal line, headed the ball away from danger to seal the Irish victory.
Rojas’ goal-scoring ability was no surprise to Sacred Heart head coach Jeff Wilson, who moved the senior from midfielder to forward after a 3-1 loss to Burlingame in non-league play on Dec. 21. In his first game at forward against Sequoia, the senior scored the only goal in a 1-0 win and never looked back, finishing the year with school records in goals (22) and assists (15).
The Irish also avenged the first loss to Burlingame with a 4-3 overtime win over the Panthers in the CCS semifinals on Wednesday.