East 3, Highland 0 • The Leopards pick up the victory in a region game marred by a fight.
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The East boys' soccer team shut out neighborhood rival Highland 3-0 in a physical contest that tested both teams' endurance and composure Friday.
Chaos broke out in the second half. After 60 minutes of pushing and shoving, the physicality of the game became too much. Fisticuffs resulted in a melee with a player for each team issued a red card. East coach Rudy Schenk said he was disappointed with all of the players unable to avoid the fight despite his warning to players throughout the week to keep their cool.
"Both coaches have preached all week to keep our emotions in check," Schenk said. "It's just dumb. We do dumb things, and then we find ourselves without a player for our next game."
Friday's entire affair was punishing physically for both teams, but it was East's one-two combination in goal with Leo Naranjo and Phillip Padilla that gave the Leopards the advantage.
Naranjo started the game, and the husky-voiced keeper could be heard throughout the field directing traffic and barking plays. Schenk says Naranjo is not just a shot-stopper but also a solid leader for East.
"Leo comes out and talks a lot very much takes control of the field," Schenk said. "He's got the voice to tell everyone what's happening."
East's first goal came in the 26th minute when Thomas Young was able to deposit a corner kick into the back of the net. Forward Erick Olivas said that the Leopards had been working on that play all week, and it paid dividends.
"We focus on executing certain plays, and Thomas was able to get a real good foot on the ball," Olivas said. "He's a solid shooter."
Padilla took over the keeper spot in the second half and held the Rams scoreless. Schenk said he likes Padilla's presence and strong leg.
"Since we've been doing this rotation, we've been undefeated," Schenk said. "Phillip has a big kick and plays really big in the box."
Olivas doubled East's lead in the 50th minute when he weaseled a ball away from Highland's keeper. The play started when Padilla drilled a free kick, and Olivas followed through the blocked kick and scored his second goal of the year.
"He's a smart player," Young said. "It was a real heads-up play. Really happy for him."
East's Hugo Olivera scored the final goal in injury time.