High school soccer: Waterford players give coach a farewell 2A title

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SANDY — The storybook endings don't always happen.

Not in real life.

Not when so many things get in the way of people's preconceived notions of what "should" happen.

But the Waterford Ravens and their magnificent coach, Bob Capener, got the storybook ending many people hoped they'd get.

At the end of a season in which they have grown immensely, Capener's players delivered their coach one last victory and one last championship.

Capener, who has accepted a teaching position in Switzerland after 28 years at the Waterford School, was joyously doused with water after his players came through in the 2A title game on Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium with a pulsating 2-1 victory over Grand.

Freshmen Josh Warner and Andrew Campbell each scored once, and the Ravens survived a frantic finish against a stellar Grand team to hoist the championship trophy.

"We wanted to win it for coach Capener for his last year," said Warner, the Deseret News 2A All-Tournament MVP. "We worked hard all season, we thought about it all season. We knew we could do it from the beginning, so we just worked our hardest from the beginning."

Waterford's fans and players chanted Capener's name afterward and cheered for the guy who's been the school's head soccer coach the past 28 years.

Waterford's players then doused him with water moments later.

"It's a silly tradition," Capener said of the shower he received, "but it's symbolic of affection and trust. So if you can get the affection and trust of your team, there's nothing better."

Capener said afterward he would have been happy this weekend no matter the outcome because of how well his guys were playing. But after surviving by the skin of their teeth against South Summit in the semifinals, things came together for the Ravens in the final to give Capener his third sanctioned state championship.

As was the case in the semis, it was Warner who got the ball rolling for Waterford in the title game.

Warner scored off a majestic header to put Waterford up 1-0 midway through what was a back-and-forth first half, and the Ravens did what they needed to do in the second half.

Waterford's backline made play after play to keep Grand's lethal attacking players quiet, Campbell scored a crucial second goal in the 51st minute and the Ravens, who struggled to hold leads all season, held on in the biggest game of the year.

Grand did score a late consolation goal by Kristyon Saunders in the 77th minute, but the Ravens avoided what would have been their sixth overtime game this year.

"All season, we've been struggling. We've gotten up two goals (and) every time we let down, and the other team catches up and we have to win in overtime," said Waterford sweeper Jacob Chung. "But today, we learned from our mistakes."

In particular, Capener singled out the play of his marking backs, who did an excellent job on Saturday.

"The man-to-man marking by David Beesley, Ben White and Jacob Silva was terrific," said Capener.

Those guys were a huge reason why Waterford ultimately lifted the championship trophy and Grand finished second for the second year in a row.

However, while Grand did ultimately come up just short, the Red Devils won even more admirers for how well they played and for how tough they've become in a short time.

They certainly won Capener's admiration.

"The thing about their players that I saw about them that I didn't know because I hadn't played them (before), is just how classy they were," said Capener. "They play good soccer, they play hard, but there was none of the cheap stuff."

"Classy" is a word that also clearly defines Capener, who now rides off into the sunset of Utah soccer. In his time with Waterford, Capener won three sanctioned state championships, several unsanctioned championships and did so all along the way by exuding so many of the virtues that people strive for in all walks of life.

Capener walked over with assistants Kent Hercules and Tim Dolbin afterward and took a bow in front of Waterford's fans, and it was a poignant moment for everyone who's been associated with Capener over the years.

"We felt like big shots for a moment," said Capener, smiling. "Not too many times in your life when you really feel like you did something big. And I think we all felt that together there in front of the crowd. We felt like we were part of something special, and we know it's temporary and you've gotta go out the next day and keep working.

"But for that little moment — pretty sweet."

2A all-tournament team

MVP: Josh Warner, Waterford


Levi Thompson, South Summit

Avery Smith, Waterford


Dino Soto, St. Joseph

Darren Nkomo, Grand

Erik Wermuth, Grand

Hakeem Lubanga, Waterford


Dallen Dalton, Grand

Brent Mains, South Summit

Jacob Chung, Waterford

Ben White, Waterford


Mitch Kohler, St. Joseph

e-mail: drasmussen@desnews.com

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Dan Rasmussen Deseret News


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