soccer

The communities of Waitsburg and Prescott swelled with pride during the fall sports season of 2011.

They came together as one to celebrate a Class B boys soccer state championship.

Prescott prospered in similar fashion seven seasons later.

W-P established its reputation when the team reached the state quarterfinals in its first year on the pitch.

The program was led for its championship adventures by an unlikely and untested coaching candidate — Mark Grimm.

“They scratched deep in the bottom of the barrel when they called me,” Grimm said. “I had little time to prepare, but we wound up being successful.

“We had crazy expectations based on the program’s initial season,” he said. “Looking back, they had quite a talented group that, I think, won 18 matches in a row.”

Prescott had a good group of returning players for the 2011 season including seniors Kevin Ortega, Francisco Gonzalez, and Pedro Mendoza, Grimm said.

“Leadership, heart, skill. They taught me so much,” Grimm said. “As time progressed, I got more experienced and knowledgeable. I always felt expectations would eventually be met.

“I emphasized the growth part and all the positives about athletics,” he said. “Success was not based on the record. We maybe lost one game and tied another.”

W-P dropped a seeding match to St. George’s in the sub-district phase of the postseason, but rallied from a 1-0 halftime deficit for a 6-1 victory at Moses Lake Christian in the round of eight, Grimm said.

“It was a pivotal moment,” Grimm said. “A moment where I thought we could turn it on.”

W-P followed up a 2-1, semifinal nipping of St. George’s with a 1-0 skunking of Providence Classical Christian in the title match at Sumner.

“The St. George’s match was like the championship match because they were a regional rival,” Grimm said. “The (PCC) match was quite incredible. I was happy for the kids and the work they put in. There was a sense of achievement. We accomplished something a lot of local people said we couldn’t do.”

Prescott — with Jose Gonzalez, Fernando Lopez, Damien Caro, and Jose Iglesias providing the senior leadership — were “definitely on the small-school soccer map” in 2018, Grimm said.

“We weren’t going to surprise anybody anymore,” he said. “We’re always in the conversation. My expectations are high every year.”

Prescott and rival St. George’s split a pair of regular-season meetings — a campaign bright spot, Grimm said.

“It’s always the highlight match year in and year out,” Grimm said. “We consider ourselves each other’s measuring stick.”

Prescott overwhelmed three postseason opponents — Life Christian (4-0), Riverside Christian (7-0), and Orcas Island (2-0) — on its jaunt to the promised land.

“We’ve made the final four on several occasions since the first year,” Grimm said. “We had a group of seniors that had been to the semis twice and were motivated to get back a third time. It taught me how special getting to that point is.”

Grimm ended by stressing the importance of past summits climbed and reached.

“We’ve built a reputation of competitiveness and skill in our program,” Grimm said. “The kids coming up look up to those teams. It has helped to sustain and build our program over time.”

Roy Elia can be reached at royelia@wwub.com.