Long Beach had chances; they just couldn't finish.
The Bearcats would out shoot Saltillo, but in the end it was the Tigers celebrating a 3-1 win over Long Beach to claim the MHSAA Boys Class 5A State Championship at Brandon's Bulldogs Stadium on Saturday night.
Both teams were looking for their first state championship in school history. The Tigers celebrated theirs on Saturday.
“I thought both teams played well and very aggressive. We knew from the beginning that this wasn’t going to be easy,” said Saltillo coach Matthew Reeder. “We got a few lucky breaks a couple of times and ultimately we came out with a win.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Sun Herald
Huckaby and Knight, who are two of eight seniors on the team, each had a goal and an assist to lead Saltillo (17-5).
Long Beach had 14 shots on goal compared to Saltillo’s six.
Cade Knight scored the first goal with 20 minutes remaining in the first half on break away on an assist from Brian Huckaby to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
Caden Mitchell would make it 2-0 Saltillo just four minutes later on a header off a corner kick.
“They did this thing as a team. Nothing but a team effort,” Reeder said. “Both teams were very similar. Two good defensive teams, but we felt like if we could attack well through the middle our outside guys would have opportunities and that is what was successful for us.”
Huckaby would add Saltillo’s final goal in the 74th minute on a pass from Knight to put the Tigers up 3-0.
Chase Dedeaux scored the only goal for Long Beach (14-6-1) in the 75th minute to cut the Saltillo lead to 3-1.
“We had chances but just didn’t put the ball in the net,” said Long Beach coach Andee Wilburn.