Van Horn freshman Angel DeAvila is starting to turn some heads.
The 5-foot-4 midfielder scored both goals on a pair of impressive plays to lift the Falcons to a 2-0 win over Kansas City Christian Tuesday that lifted them to their first conference title.
“To get a conference championship is very exciting,” first-year Van Horn coach Jesus Rodriguez said. “We’ve never won one here, so that’s one accomplishment down before we hit district next week.”
Van Horn wasn’t the only team to capture a conference title Tuesday. Grain Valley downed Harrisonville 2-1 on a late goal to claim the Missouri River Valley Conference West crown.
DeAvila is a big reason why the Van Horn Falcons finished off a 5-0 sweep of the Crossroads Conference and improved to 18-4 overall with their 11th straight victory.
DeAvila broke a scoreless tie when he took a pass from Juan Rangel and rocketed a 25-yard shot off the crossbar and into the net in the 20th minute.
His second goal was even more impressive to Rodriguez. DeAvila settled the ball after a Kansas City Christian header, dribbled through three defenders and sank a shot into the net from a nearly impossible side angle with seven minutes left to provide insurance and seal the victory.
“He’s a very, very good freshman,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a 14-year-old playing like a senior – no, a college player – right now.”
Rodriguez said the game was by no means over then, though.
“They are probably the toughest opponent we’ve faced all year,” he said of the Panthers, who finished 4-1 in the conference. “Every player they had was tactically and technically sound, and they pushed us to play our very best.”
Van Horn is off until 7 p.m. Tuesday when the Falcons play host to Excelsior Springs in the Class 3 District 15 semifinals.
GRAIN VALLEY 2, HARRISONVILLE 1: Nate Chaiprathum picked a good time for his only goal of the season.
The junior defender headed in a corner kick from Alex Thiessen with just 25 seconds left to lift the Eagles to a 2-1 victory over host Harrisonville that claimed the MRVC West crown outright.
“The win gives the Grain Valley boys program its first outright conference title,” Eagles coach Tyler Nichol said. “We shared the title two of the last three years with Harrisonville.”
The Eagles (13-6) finished conference play at 7-1 while Harrisonville (9-5-4) dropped to 5-2 with one game left.
Thiessen nearly gave the Eagles the lead with three minutes left. Junior Brandon Speigle was fouled inside the box, setting up a penalty kick for Grain Valley. But Harrisonville goalkeeper Brody Pitts dove to his left to deny Thiessen and keep it tied.
Harrisonville struck first in the 10th minute when Connor Blentlinger scored on a shot from outside the box.
“After that it was a defensive battle for most of the game,” Nichol said.
Junior Logan Welle also scored his first goal of the season to tie it with just six minutes left to play. The ball bounced around in the box after a corner kick and Welle drilled in the rebound from 6 yards out to knot the score and set up Chaiprathum’s heroics.
BOONVILLE 8, OAK GROVE 0: Oak Grove finished its season at 14-9 overall with a shutout loss to Boonville in a Class 2 District 10 semifinal Tuesday at Clinton.
Boonville (6-14) advances to face host Clinton (11-9) in Thursday’s championship.