Demons blank Hunt for unbeaten Big East run

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The Fike High varsity boys soccer team wrapped up a dominating 2018 season against archrival Hunt — and the rest of the 3-A Big East Conference — with a 4-0 Senior Night triumph Wednesday evening.

The Golden Demons not only swept the two meetings but outscored the Warriors 12-0. Already the owner of Big East regular-season supremacy, Fike, with its 11th consecutive win, finished the regular season 10-0 in the Big East and 14-2-1 overall.

Enjoying a rousing sendoff were seniors Myles Cyrus, Jaylen Guillen, Clayton Snyder, Israel Villalobos, Tanner Sullivan and Saulo Rodriguez. During the seniors’ four years, the Demons compiled a 54-25-4 overall record and 32-8 conference worksheet. Fike seized the conference tournament championship in 2016 and registered a perfect 2018 conference season.

Hunt, in the first season of head coach Phil Long, finished 5-5 and in fourth place in the conference and sputtered to a 6-11-2 overall record.

The Demons did not expect a repeat of their 8-0 rout at Hunt but, as head coach Chris Mizelle noted: “The opportunities were there.

“I didn’t think we would match the same level,” Mizelle continued, “but it was a quality performance. It was not quite as clinical but, any time you put four (goals) on the board, you win more often than not.”

Snyder, who turned in a standout defensive performance, described Fike’s dominance against the Warriors his senior year as “just amazing.”

“The shutout was big time; that’s what we look for every time we play,” he added. “Hunt is our rival and it’s, by far, the biggest game. We want those bragging rights.”

Neither did Snyder expect the outcome to be as lopsided as in the first meeting.

“We wanted to keep it safe and have a good game,” he remarked.

Fike needed less than four minutes to notch the only goal it would need. Sophomore Gavin Wheeler scored and, on the play, starting freshman Hunt goalkeeper David Aranda suffered an ankle injury that sidelined him the remainder of the game.

The score became 2-0 in the 33rd minute when Villalobos cranked a shot that deflected into the Hunt goal.

Wheeler, Cyrus and Guillen kept Warriors’ junior keeper Ty Philpott and defenders junior Esai Torres, junior Landon Gesell, junior Daniel Mondragon, senior Alan Romero and senior Max Santes under seige.

Hunt also tested Fike keeper Sullivan and his supporting cast of Snyder, sophomore Jarrett Smith, junior Mason Lee and freshman Oc Bolt and Villalobos with a pair of excellent opportunities created by seniors Kevin Moreno and Michael Le.

But in the 36th minute, Fike stretched its lead to 3-0 at intermission as Cyrus finished a feed from Wheeler.

“That put momentum in our favor,” said Mizelle of the second and third goals. “I didn’t want to go into the half up 1-0. We did not want to come out in the second half with any sense of urgency or having to play safe.”

The Warriors squandered an opportunity in the opening seconds of the second half.

“There were moments that could have changed momentum,” Hunt’s Long contended. “But there is always something to build off and I was proud of them tonight. They came together well in the second half; they responded well.”

Sophomore Hayden Edwards and Mondragon got off shots for Hunt and, in the final four minutes, Fike’s defense repelled dangerous runs from Moreno, Le and Mondragon.

“We were tested, but we did what we had to do,” Snyder said of Fike’s defensive effort. “We kept them out of goal and did what we had to do to get to 10-0.”

The Demons added the exclamation point in the 83rd minute. Cyrus’ nifty pass set up junior Kevin Mendoza’s goal.

Long reviewed the season as a learning experience for his Warriors, who welcome Rocky Mount on Monday in the tournament quarterfinals.

“The players are getting used to me and I am getting used to the players,” Long explained. “Hunt has always had three or four stars and a supporting cast. This year, we don’t have stars but a team full of hard workers. It takes a while to believe they can be stars. But they have responded well.”