The Ontario High School Jaguars defeated the visiting Knight High School Hawks of Palmdale, Calif., in Wednesday’s CIF Southern Section Division III playoff game.
Knight kicked off to open up what would be a competitive half. Both teams virtually split the ball possession. The Jags were a bit more effective when they possessed the getting off six shots compared the hawks’ two shots.
It was a physical first half as each team committed five fouls, but Knight committed the foul that mattered in the 37th minute as a Hawk defender fouled Ontario forward Christopher Peralta inside the box, leading to a penalty kick. Sophomore Luis Correa then scored the go-ahead penalty kick. The game entered halftime with Ontario leading, 1-0.
The Jaguars began to build a rhythm in the second half asserting their dominance and controlling possession of the ball. Ontario found success in playing through the left wing with sophomore Miguel Correa who created multiple goal opportunities with his crosses into the box. Peralta found the net again for the Jags in the 65th minute when he launched a bomb from 20 yards out, just beyond the top of the box.
Trailing by two goals and on their back heels, the Hawks struggled to generate any sort of offense. While, the Jags continued to attack, but would not find the net again.
The final whistle blew and the game resulted in a victory for Ontario, who totaled 14 total shots and six on goal, compared to Knight’s four shots and only one on goal.
“They were a physical team, but we stuck with our basics,” expressed Coach Harry Cruz, first year varsity head coach. “The second half, you know, it was a totally different game. We kept a lot more possession, just playing it smart and not playing into their game,” Cruz continued.
“We can’t just get into the whole hype of CIF [playoffs]. We just got to do it one game at a time” added Cruz.
Ontario captain Anthony “Papa” Nuñez touched on the “I think the first round pulled on our nerves a little bit, because most of us were inexperienced in the CIF arena… with that first win, everybody is more confident and looking forward to the second round.”
Ontario will host Agoura High School in the second round this Wednesday at 4:30 PM. It will be the first-ever game at the brand new Jaguar Stadium.