As soon as Curtis Marks was tripped up he turned to the sideline referee expecting a call.
The call never came and Cosumnes Oaks’ Collin Bettencourt scored an easy goal. The Thunder never recovered as the No. 2 seed Wolfpack ended Buhach Colony’s season with a 3-0 win in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 semifinals on Wednesday night at Cosumnes Oaks High.
“They put a through ball through and I easily would have beat him to the ball,” said Marks. “He kicked my foot and I stumbled. I thought the referee would call it. He got by me and scored. That hurt us big. It was right at the beginning of the game. That put us down.”
Buhach Colony coach Gus Oliveros couldn’t believe the no call.
“You can’t blame the referees but that was a blown call,” Oliveros said. “He got tripped. He kicked the back of his leg. That should have been a foul. That got in our heads right away. It happened right away. That was a free goal. It shouldn’t have happened like that. It wasn’t deserved.”
The Thunder (16-8-4) had plenty of scoring opportunities in the first half. Junior Jose Ramirez found himself wide open in the middle from 15 yards out midway through the first half, however, his shot was blocked by a diving Adam Angell in goal.
Buhach Colony had several corner kicks in the first half, but struggled on set pieces against a taller Wolfpack team.
“The early goal was a game-changer,” said Cosumnes Oaks coach Alejandro Murillo Chaves, whose team improved to 17-0-4. “It puts a lot of pressure on (Buhach). Our momentum stays up and we’re able to control the game.
“My team played great defense,” he added. “They have some good players, but I don’t think we lost a single ball in the air because our guys stepped up.”
The Wolfpack put the game out of reach in the second half. Bettencourt came close to scoring a second goal, but Buhach Colony goalie Miguel Guerrero came out to block a shot. The ball found its way in front of Cosumnes Oaks’ Levi Velega. With Guerrero out of goal, Velega lofted a shot into the empty net to give his team a 2-0 lead in the 50th minute.
Nebe Cross scored on a pass in front of the net in the 75th minute to pad the lead to 3-0.
The Wolfpack will play Gregori in the championship game on Saturday at a time and location to be announced. Gregori upset Vintage 1-0 on Wednesday.
Buhach Colony saw its season come to an end.
“I’ll remember this for my entire life,” Marks said. “I don’t know if we’ll make it back next year, but this is a big part of my life. I won’t forget it.”