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Jose Garcia

Multimedia Journalist/Historian

Oldest soccer rivalry reunites, 75-yard goal, Mesa teams win

Dec 23, 2012


               (Mesa won its sixth Jackrabbit Invitational on Saturday. Photo by Jose Garcia/

The hosts were not in a giving mood.

Mesa High’s soccer programs walked away with early Christmas presents on Saturday after winning the boys and girls Mesa High Jackrabbit Invitational titles. The boys beat rival Mesa Mountain View 4-2, and the girls upended Phoenix North Canyon 2-1.

It was the sixth time that Mesa won its boys tournament in 14 tries, and the second time Mesa beat its crosstown rival this season.

“I love our passing game at this point in the season,” said Mesa boys coach T.J. Hagen about his short but quick team.

Hagen’s squad controlled possession in the first half but went into halftime with the same amount of goals — one — as Mountain View.

“We were going wide a lot in the first half, so I told the guys to go to goal and finish at halftime,” Hagen said.

Fourteen minutes into the second half, one of Mesa’s captains, Brian Perea, did just that.

Perea used his speed and a good second touch to breakaway and blast it in just inside the near post for Mesa’s second goal. Almost three minutes later, Manny Venzor used a Jose Barerra pass to get open and score after getting the ball by Mountain View’s goalkeeper from close range.

Mountain View converted a penalty with 12:11 remaining, but about seven minutes later a kid nicknamed Messi took the remaining suspense out of the game with an amazing and unexpected goal. Nobody, including Carlos Ibarra, who looks like Lionel Messi, thought Ibarra’s kick from about 75-yards would bounce over Mountain View’s goalkeeper and roll into the net.

Ibarra wasn’t even facing Mountain View’s goal when he attempted to clear a ball that travelled and landed first near the top of Mountain View’s 18-yard box. The first bounce went over the goalkeeper.

You knew what was next after the second bounce.


“I was happy,” said Perea about the memorable long distance goal.

What else would you expect him to say?

           (Mesa High won its invitational on Saturday. Photo by Jose Garcia/

As for Mesa’s girls, they also made a couple of loud statements in their game. Senior Aubrey Blau guaranteed a victory before her team’s championship game against North Canyon, which beat Mesa in last year’s Mesa High tournament final. Blau, a senior forward, quickly backed up her pregame statement, scoring 35 seconds into the match.

Junior midfielder Logan Fischer added Mesa’s second goal just before the end of the first half. North Canyon senior Rubi Sotelo converted a penalty kick with 10:45 remaining in the match, but Mesa held on to win.

Mesa (3-4) has already won more games than it did last year.

“We are just working and playing better this year,” Blau said.


The oldest soccer rivalry (Mesa-Mountain View boys) in the state played in another meaningful game on Saturday.

The two programs first met in 1981, when Mountain View and Mesa played in the first ever high school soccer game in Arizona. That year, Mesa wound up winning a non-sanctioned Arizona Interscholastic Association state title. 

          (Rivals Mesa (left) and Mesa Mountain View met in another meaningful game on Saturday. Photo by Jose Garcia/