INDEPENDENCE -- Central's boys soccer team closed the regular season Oct. 27 by rallying for a 1-1 tie against Taft in Lincoln City.
The outcome allowed the Panthers, ranked fourth in Class 4A, to retain their unbeaten record at 12-0-2 overall and 7-0-1 in the Val-Co Conference. CHS wins the league championship and a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Panthers will host North Bend, the second-place finisher in the Far West Conference, at a time to be determined Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Taft, the Val-Co runner-up, took a 1-0 lead against Central in the game's fifth minute on a goal by Carlos Chu.
The Panthers' tying goal came in the 54th minute when Edgar Garcia scored off an assist from Abraham Martinez.
Central goalkeeper Alberto Gomez made three saves. The Taft netminder finished with five stops.
"The game was extremely physical," CHS coach Adil Abounadi said. "We were a bit nervous in the first half but dominated in the second half. I thought the referees were letting a lot of dangerous plays happen, which made the game unsafe for our players. It was a high-intensity game that could have gone either way. It was a good way to end the regular season and good preparation for the playoffs."
Panthers forward Jonathon Myrie remains sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot. He still is awaiting clearance from, doctors to get back on the field.
Central also rolled to an 8-0 rout of visiting Newport Oct. 23. Carlos Esquivel scored three times for the Panthers, and Jose Martinez added a pair of goals. Ty Phillips, Salvadar Najar and Christian Gonzalez had one goal each.