With one kick, Joshua Roque sent the ball 40 yards through the air and his Canyon High teammates into a frenzy something like a disturbed anthill, exerting every ounce of energy as they desperately tried to score the equalizer in the final 16 minutes.
Ultimately, Roque’s frozen-rope goal was the highlight of Canyon boys soccer’s 2-1 loss to Quartz Hill at home on Friday night.
But, despite remaining winless, the Cowboys (0-8-5) continued to show signs of improvement from last year’s disappointing campaign. When Foothill League play starts Tuesday, it will be a matter of playing a complete game.
“You rip that one off, and it ratchets up the intensity,” Canyon coach Robert Benavidez said of Roque’s goal.
Canyon’s mad scramble didn’t produce a second score. But it put a once-in-control Quartz Hill team on its heels.
That seemed a distant possibility in the first half when Rebel Joshua Mendez scored in the 15th minute and Clayton Torr made it 2-0 Quartz Hill in the 25th minute.
Canyon’s few opportunities didn’t amount to anything and the seventh shutout loss of the year loomed.
Then Roque wound up from 40 yards out and unleashed the longest goal of his soccer career. The junior’s previous long, he said, came from 20 yards out during his freshman year.
When did he decide to shoot his momentum changer?
“Right when I saw (the opportunity),” Roque said.
Was his coach surprised?
“We’ve been trying to emphasize to the players, ‘Shoot the ball.’ We can’t score unless they shoot,” Benavidez said. “They tend to want everything on a platter with the perfect setup. We’ve been trying to tell them you just have to shoot the ball sometimes. Take a risk.”
Roque took the risk and Canyon looked revived.
The Cowboys hope to play that kind of inspired soccer from the get-go Tuesday against Golden Valley.
“Tuesday is a whole new season now,” Benavidez said.