Trailing 2-0, there was no blistering half-time pep talk from the Brookswood coaches.
Instead, the players themselves spoke about what needed to be done.
The Bobcats were trailing the Aldergrove Totems by a pair of goals heading into the second half of the senior boys AA soccer championship final which was played at Brookswood Secondary on Nov. 12.
The ’Cats and Totems had both already secured a spot at the upcoming B.C. provincial high school championships, but the Brookswood players were intent on capturing the Valley banner, which would be a first in the school’s history.
And the majority of the players were in Grade 11 last year when Brookswood lost in the Fraser Valley finals.
“They all talked about really wanting to get a banner and not give up hope,” said Brookswood’s Ian Jackman, a parent-coach alongside Dwayne Brunsch.
“They talked about how they could do it and off they went.
“They were a lot stronger in the second half.”
After Aldergrove’s Alex Jang put the visitors ahead with a pair of goals, Brookswood had some chances to get on the board prior to halftime, but each time the Aldergrove keeper was up to the task, always in position to cleanly grasp the ball.
“We told the team (at the half), aim for the posts and not the goalie and that is exactly what happened,” said Jackman.
Kenta Tsukui pulled Brookswood even with a pair of goals — one of which saw him knife through five defenders — and Damon Schmidt gave the ’Cats the lead for good with less than 15 minutes to play.
’Cats keeper Tyler Jones also came up with a huge pair of stops to keep Aldergrove off the board in the second half.
“Brookswood is a very good team and they carried the play in the game anyways,” said Aldergrove coach Brian Hunter.
“Our structure in our system lost a bit of its shape allowing for Brookswood to find more quality opportunities.
“Having said this, we had three excellent opportunities to get the winner in the last 10 minutes and two of these opportunities went wide and then in the other chance, the goalie made a great play.”
Brookswood was the fourth seed for Fraser Valleys while Aldergrove was seventh.
The ’Cats beat No. 5 Archbishop Carney 3-2 in the quarter-finals and then stunned the top seed Abbotsford Traditional Titans 4-2 in the semifinals.
The Titans had gone 5-1 during the season, outscoring the competition 26-4, including a 6-0 victory over Brookswood.
Aldergrove beat No. 2 Pitt Meadows 2-1 and No. 3 Burnsview 3-2 in penalty kicks.
The Langley Saints were also in the mix at Fraser Valleys — they went 5-1-0 during the regular season, which included a 2-1 win over Abbotsford Traditional — but the sixth-seed lost 3-2 in penalty kicks to Burnsview in the quarter-finals. Langley stayed alive with a 2-1 win over Pitt Meadows but lost 5-2 to the Titans to be eliminated.
Both Brookswood and Aldergrove now gear up for the provincial championships, which run Nov. 23 to 25 at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex.
Gary Ahuja/Langley Times
Brookswood Bobcats’ Damon Schmidt (red) is upended by Aldergrove Totems’ Shion Yamamoto during the Fraser Valley senior boys AA soccer championship final at Brookswood Secondary on Nov. 12.