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Not ready to share: Atwater defends CCC title, dashes Buhach Colony's hopes

ATWATER -- Jimmy Brewer wasn't going to let his players take their feet off the accelerator.

Not with a Central California Conference soccer title and home-field advantage on the line.

The Atwater onslaught had Buhach Colony goalie Martin Aguilar diving, leaping and lunging all over the pitch in attempt to keep his team in the match.

But Atwater was just too much.

A Victor Lopez goal in the first half gave Atwater the lead it desperately wanted.

Jose Hernandez then closed the door when he scored on a header late in the second half to give Atwater a 2-0 win in front of a howling crowd of 3,500 at Falcon Field on Thursday night.

Atwater fans rushed onto the field to celebrate a second straight CCC championship.

"We haven't had the lead in the standings since day one," Brewer said.

"We got behind when we tied Golden Valley in the second game and we've been looking up the rest of the way.

"To be on top at the end is kind of nice."

Both teams came into the regular-season finale unbeaten in conference play.

Atwater (9-0-3 CCC) came into Thursday's match trailing Buhach (9-1-2) by two points and needed a victory to win the championship.

"We had to win. A tie was no good for us," Brewer said. "Buhach could play for a tie.

"That's why it was so big to get that first goal. Not only did we have a lead, but Buhach hasn't trailed all season long.

"We put them in a position they're not used to."

Atwater took the lead when Jorge Carmona fired a shot into the box.

The ball popped up into the air and Lopez was there to head it into an empty net for a 1-0 lead 18 minutes into the match.

Atwater never let up on the pressure.

The first 30 minutes of the second half was almost played exclusively on Buhach's half of the pitch.

Aguilar made some highlight-reel saves to keep BC in the game, but Atwater just kept coming.

"I've seen every goalie in the area and Martin's the best," Buhach coach Josh Newton said.

"He kept us in it, but there's only so much he can do."

Atwater finally pushed another ball past him when Jesse Horta deflected a corner kick into the air and Hernandez headed the ball home in the 58th minute.

"This feels great," Hernandez said. "We've been preparing for this game for weeks.

"We just knew we had to get to this game still unbeaten."

Both teams qualified for the playoffs. BC will open on the road and Atwater will host a game next week.

Brewer said he'll try to schedule the game for Thursday night.

"If we can get another crowd like this, that would be great," Brewer said. "There aren't a lot of schools that can match this atmosphere."