Leave no doubt.
That was the rallying cry amongst the Spring Creek soccer team on Wednesday evening, who used the sentiment to clinically dispatch North Johnston, 6-2, and emerge as Neuse Six 2A Conference champions.
It marked the first conference title for Gators since 2014 when they were a part of the Carolina 1A Conference.
The triumph also marked the Gators’ 12th victory in a row and cemented a home playoff match for the Gators.
“I’m extremely proud. We reached our short-term goal, which was to be conference champions,” Spring Creek head coach Miguel Torres said. “The boys did excellent. The boys did superb.”
The Gators could not have asked for a better start. Seven minutes into the game, Jossue Pineda Hernandez scored the first goal of the game.
In the 19th minute, Alex Carmona Morales scored his first of four goals, and just one minute later, Carmona Morales scored his second goal to help the Gators take a 3-0 lead.
“The boys came out firing, and they came out ready,” Torres said. “They came out ready to play a championship game, and it showed.”
Going down 3-0 would deflate most teams, but the Panthers started to claw their way back into the game.
Juan Artega’s free kick found its way into the back of the net in the 25th minute.
Still down 3-1 at halftime, the Panthers made it a one-goal game in the 48th minute when off Brayan Bedoya’s corner kick, Artega’s header got past Spring Creek’s goalie.
“Definitely credit to North Johnston. They’re a very tough opponent. They never put their heads down or gave up,” Torres said. “They’re a top team.”
However, in the 50th minute, the Gators scored a goal that finally deflated the Panthers.
The Panthers’ goalie came out of the box to clear the ball, but instead of clearing the ball, he hit one of his own defenders.
Oswaldo Escudero was in the right place at the right time, and he quickly gathered the ball and scored to give the Gators a 4-2 advantage.
“We just had to finish and be clinical in front of the goal, and I think we were in this game,” Torres said.
With a minute remaining in the game, Carmona Morales scored his final two goals, and when the final whistle blew, the Gators stormed the field and celebrated winning their first conference title in seven years.
“This is the beginning of a new conference for us, and the goal was to be conference champions,” Torres said. “It feels great.”
The Gators (14-2-1 overall, 10-0 NSC) will enjoy their victory and get ready for the playoffs next week.