“It’s always difficult to go out on the road and win a game, especially in the playoffs, so this was just a huge accomplishment,” said Burroughs Coach Michael Kodama, who received first-half goals from Xavi Izquieta and Brandon Gerlach before watching the Indians stave off a late comeback bid by the Wildcats (22-2-3). “We knew coming in that we needed to stay calm.”
Burroughs, which won the Pacific League championship, took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Izquieta in the 10th minute from about 18 yards. Manny Celio recorded the assist.
Nearly 15 minutes later, Celio spotted an uncovered Gerlach, who got behind the Wildcats defenders and scored on a partial breakaway to extend the lead to 2-0.
“When we made it 2-0, you could see [Redlands East Valley] struggling,” Kodama said. “It was so huge to get the early lead.”
Celio had two quality scoring chances early in the second half, but couldn’t convert.
The Wildcats sliced the lead in half on a goal by Trenton Hooper midway through the second half. Redlands East Valley, which won the Citrus Belt League crown, nearly tied it at 2 when a shot struck the crossbar and bounced away with about two minutes left.
Burroughs senior defensive midfielder Brian Arzate said the Indians controlled the pace in the first half.
“We knew coming in that it would be a big test,” Arzate said. “We got some confidence by getting those two early goals, and we felt like we had control.
“They came at us in the second half and they brought their intensity up another notch. We were able to respond by keeping our composure.”
Burroughs goalkeeper Elliot Whitecotton finished with five saves, including four in the second half.