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If there was ever an opportunity to play a team that wasn’t strong and the coach could rest his starters, then the season finale for the Sedona Red Rock High boys soccer team was a perfect fit as they played Arizona Lutheran Academy on Thursday, Jan. 29, and won, 8-1.

With the victory, Sedona claims a share of the 1A-3A West region title with Northwest Christian Academy after the Scorpions finished 15-1 overall on the season and the pair were 9-1 in the region, splitting the two games they played against each other.

Varsity reserves and junior varsity players littered the field like trash blown in the wind on Thursday in Sedona, constantly moving around but unable to be caught.

In the final match of the season, Sedona head coach Jared Grondin decided to rest his starters for the 1A-3A state playoffs which begin on Friday, Jan. 6, and get his reserves some much needed experience.

“Arizona Lutheran is very young this season and I knew that after seeing them play in the tournament before Christmas break that we shouldn’t have much trouble with them,” Grondin said.

Although a chance for a share at the West region title was on the line, Grondin was more concerned about the state playoffs and the well-being of his players.

“Even if we played a tiebreaker on Saturday against Northwest Christian to decide the region champ, I still probably would have rested my starters in that game,” Grondin said.

All’s well that ends well and the Sedona reserves made sure of it on Thursday, moving the ball gracefully around the field and taking their shots during a strategic attack on the field against Arizona Lutheran.

With starters bringing the reserves cups of water and towels to dry off, it was an interesting role reversal for the Scorpions who enjoyed every minute of it.

Seven Scorpion soccer players found the back of the net. Junior Jesus Rivera led the game with two goals.

Other teammates including junior Ben Miley, senior Nick Wise, junior Guzman Benedito Muela and freshman Alex Seavle scored as well.

Seniors James Moore and Andrew DeVore both scored goals against Arizona Lutheran, their first during their four-year tenure of wearing a Sedona uniform.

“How special is that? Those boys work hard every year and they get their first goals of their careers in the last regular season game of the season,” Grondin said.

Arizona Lutheran did manage to find the goal but by that time Sedona was far ahead and claimed the 8-1 victory, ending the regular season.

With the regular season over, Sedona can turn its attention

to the 1A-3A state playoffs

this Friday.

The Scorpions received a No. 3 seed in the state tournament based on their power point standings provided by the Arizona Interscholastic Association which were released on Monday, Feb. 2.

Sedona will play No. 14 Fountain Hills High in the first round of the state tournament at Benedict Sports Complex in Tempe.

Game time is scheduled for 5 p.m.

The Scorpions have seen the Falcons this season, having beaten them on their home field by the final score of 2-1 back on Jan. 20.

“We are ready for the state tournament. It’s a completely different game and anything done in the regular season doesn’t affect how we plan for this game,” Grondin said.

If the Scorpions win against Fountain Hills on Friday, they will advance to the second round of the state tournament which is on Saturday, Feb. 7, at Benedict Sports Complex.

Sedona will play the winner of the No. 6 Northwest Christian vs. No. 11 Wickenburg High game.

The scheduled start time for round two is noon.

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