PCHS Miners boys soccer beats Hillcrest High at home 1-0

PARK CITY, Utah — The Miners Boys freshman/sophomore Soccer beat the Hillcrest High School team with a final score of 1-0 on Monday afternoon at Quinn’s Junction Sports Complex Field.

After the one-handed high fives, the two-handed high fives, the hooting, and the hollering by athletes, coaches, and parents subsided, the staff took time to talk. 

Coincidentally, the field had just been turned to turf last fall. The goal was scored by Merritt Jones in the middle of the first half.

Evan Sachs and Graham Harter are the co-coaches of the Park City High School Miners freshman/sophomore Boys Soccer Team. Sachs is a school alumnus, class of 2000, who played a bit of soccer while he was a student. 

Monday, Miners vs Hillcrest at Quinn’s Junction. Photo: Michele Roepke

Harter told TownLift, “All this spring snow has been a challenge, to say the least. At the same time, it’s been learning moment, and a teaching moment every day, dealing with adversity which is snow on the field constantly. We’re making the most of the time and space that we have.”

Sachs told TownLift, “Strong leadership  starts from the top and varsity coach Anthony’s done a good job of the theme of the years just being able to adapt anything. So, whether it’s a rain delay or having only a little space at Dozier Field to train on, we’ve just all been able to adapt. Once we came back from spring break, and we were able to have our home games, it feels like a whole second season.”

Mounds of stored snow as high as the adjacent two-story school roof precluded Park City High School outdoor spring sports from utilizing their Dozier Field as it was intended. Nonetheless, the season has remained true to its planned progression.

Photo: Michele Roepke

Not, however, without a creative solution or two. Like when the team traveled to Salt Lake City in early April to play Skyline High School. In the first half, when the snow was falling, it was business-as-usual in this historically snowy season, for all stakeholders. In the second half, the sideways snow not only persisted but provided a complete and total white out whereby the lines painted on the field, then any semblance of a field at all simply disappeared under the pilling powder.

Keep in mind, that this was supposed to be, one of many, games played up in Park City but was moved down to Salt Lake City in hopes of avoiding scenes exactly like this. It was an inspired choice as it was snowing even harder that evening in Park City. Ensuring the safety and well-being of the athletes first-and-foremost was the hearty referees duties, so each time they checked in with the soccer players inquiring as to whether the weather was dictating that they stop or not, everyone elected to continue.

Near the end of the game, the use of the traditional black and white soccer ball was a moot point, it had become invisible. Instead, a neon high-visibility ball had to be subbed in, as agreed to by both teams. After the game was over, and the Skyline hands were shaken, and before they hustled, drenched, to the bus, some Miners took the opportunity to release some fun energy with penguin slides on the standing-water sections of the pitch.

Rocky’s white chartered bus at Park City High School. Photo: Michele Roepke

Another time this spring, again when a Dozier Field game was moved to a lower elevation high school, this time in Heber City, an unexpected force of nature came in the form of not actual nature, but instead, a bus driver. The chartered, white, Salt Lake City Transport Bus driver picked up the team at PCHS at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday and drove them to Heber.

This was a double header in a league-wide concerted effort to make up for previous inclement weather game cancellations. Some bus drivers hunker down in the vehicle for a day-long outing, not this one. This one introduced himself as Rocky. Rocky is from Central Africa and when he was these student’s age, he was a prolific soccer player himself. Rocky respectfully asked if it would be okay with Sachs and Harter if he stayed out of the bus and watched the match from the sidelines.

Although the two official coaches had everyone and everything well in hand, Rocky ended up becoming an unofficial coach that day. Asking permission every step of the way, he shared his invaluable skill, knowledge and wisdom with the Miners as he’d learned in his native Africa as an athlete.

By the end of the game, Rocky had figured out each athlete’s first name and position merely by watching and listening intently and was continuously communicating specific offensive and defensive plays and set piece plans therein. PCHS players and coaches were grateful for the added assistance and for the new friendship made. When the student athletes disembarked from the bus back in Park City, Rocky got out of his driver’s seat and stood curbside as each and every Miner gave him a smile, a thanks, and a high five.

Miners at Quinn’s Junction.

After Monday’s game at Quinn’s, Harter, speaking aside of and for Sachs said, “We’re both really proud of the boys this season so far, dealing with the weather that they have had. Sure, it’s been a great ski season, but practically every other aspect of that is causing hurdles. The fact that these athletes have been as upbeat, and as positive, as they have has been awesome.”

The team hosts another ‘home’ game at Quinn’s Junction on Tuesday after school.

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