Ryan Atwood, right, and Jamin Jensen, left, and the Carbon High boys soccer team had plenty to celebrate after winning their final two games of the season and the all-important coin toss tiebreaker over North Sanpete for the right to host a home playoff game. The Dinos finished second in Region 12 and will host Uintah on Thursday at 4 p.m. at the Carbon High Soccer Field in the First Round of the 3A State Tournament.
Carbon High's Andrew Gagnon, right, scored a goal in a 3-0 win over North Sanpete on Friday night. The Dinos will host Uintah on Thursday.
Carbon wins final two games and coin toss tiebreaker over North Sanpete to host Uintah on Thursday afternoon in 3A First Round
After suffering through two straight losing seasons with many low points, Friday was a day to remember for the Carbon High boys soccer team.
And there was plenty to celebrate for the Dinos all the way home on the bus ride from North Sanpete.
"Friday was a great day for us," said CHS Head Coach Keith Palmer in a phone interview Monday morning.
Shortly after defeating North Sanpete 3-0 on the road, the Dinos were happy knowing that they were in the 3A state tournament for the first time since 2011.
But they wanted more.
An opportunity to host playoff games at home was within their reach but a coin toss would need to be won.
That's been a bit of a problem for Carbon High teams who have been in the same spot as the soccer team.
But against all odds, the coin toss went the Dinos' way and it set off a celebration that started at North Sanpete High School and continued all the way back to Price that night.
"The kids were going nuts after we won the coin toss," said Palmer. "It was really exciting and fun for the kids and they couldn't stop talking about the game on the whole bus ride back home."
While a spot in the state tournament was already a lock, two wins in their final two games would set them up well for the tournament.
The Dinos would not suffer a letdown as they went on the road and defeated Richfield (2-0) and North Sanpete (3-0) on Wednesday and Friday last week.
Palmer called Friday night's win "the best game we've played in four years" since he took over as coach four years ago.
"We controlled the middle and were very aggressive on the field," Palmer explained. "The team played together and everybody played their part."
Carbon shrugged off any nerves by scoring just 30 seconds into the game. It took the nerves away and the Dinos continued to play their style of controlling the ball in the midfield and finding openings to attack while holding strong on the defensive end.
"Everything just came together," said Palmer.
Jamin Jensen, the Dinos' biggest offensive weapon who missed a few games late in the season, finished a strong season by scoring two goals over the final two games. Jase Pettigrew added two goals in two games and Andrew Gagnon added a goal in the win over North Sanpete.
The defense and goalkeeper Trace Johnson combined to get shut outs in the final two games. Palmer noted that in all five Region 12 wins, the Dinos have shut out their opponents en route to the victories.
Now the Dinos will have two more days to prepare as they look to gain a measure of revenge when they host Region 10 third place team Uintah on Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the Carbon High Soccer Field.
Uintah handed the Dinos an 8-0 loss on Tuesday, April 15. Palmer told his team to forget the loss noting the team dealt with injuries and sickness heading into the lopsided loss.
While the Dinos know they will get Uintah's best shot, Palmer said finishing the season strong and hosting a playoff game will help give the team a boost.
"I told the guys to never think about that last game against Uintah," said Palmer. "We're a different team now."
Having a chance to host a playoff game is a nice change from traveling hours on the road, but Palmer said the Dinos will need to work hard in practice and control their nerves on what is the biggest stage the current team has ever played on.
"We know there will be a big crowd at the game. So we've got to focus on settling down and trying to get an early score," said Palmer.
The winner of Carbon/Uintah will face the winner of Pine View and an opponent to be determined between Bear River and Grantsville on Saturday at 1 p.m. Carbon would host another game if they defeat Uintah and the winner of the Bear River/Grantsville game defeats Pine View.