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Gridley Herald

Gridley Boys’ Soccer Clinches Share of BVL Title

Feb 08, 2024 09:48AM ● By Steven Bryla, photos by Steven Bryla

Gridley junior Eddie Rodriguez (7) and Orland junior Alex Rangel (8) fight for the ball in the Bulldogs’ 2-1 win against Orland on Thursday, February 1.

GRIDLEY, CA (MPG) - The Gridley boys soccer team brought the Butte View League title back home where it belongs as they clinched at least a share of the league title as they beat the Orland Trojans on Thursday, February 1, in a 2-1 victory.

In the win against Orland, it solidified the fifth BVL title in six years. The game was moved up to play an hour-and-a-half of the regularly scheduled time to try and avoid potential thunderstorms later in the day, according to Bulldogs Head Coach Jesse Barajas.

Gridley junior striker Nolan Weagant (1) sends a ball for a free kick during the Bulldogs’ 2-1 victory over Orland on Thursday, February 1.

Prior to the opening whistle of the match, Barajas told Gridley in the pregame speech of getting back what was theirs and Orland was the team last season who took their BVL crown.

In the 14th minute of the game, the Bulldogs got on the scoreboard as the Trojans kicked in an own-goal as they tried to clear an inside pass from Gridley junior striker Nolan Weagant. 

Gridley sophomore Nery Martinez (21) sends a shot in the first half of the Bulldogs’ 2-1 win against Orland on Thursday, February 1.

The Bulldogs went up 1-0 and Weagant was awarded with his 31st goal of the season. Gridley went up 2-0 in the 52nd minute when sophomore Cesar Alvares added another goal for a 2-0 lead.

Bulldogs senior captain Gregorio Ramirez and sophomore captain Omar Palafox told the Herald they have a big home field advantage of having a wider field than most of their opponents. 

Gridley senior goalie Elias Santillan (middle) dives on the ball in the Bulldogs’ 2-1 victory over Orland on Thursday, February 1.

Barajas added that the visible dimensions on the field are a big advantage compared to other schools due to Gridley’s field not being in the football stadium. 

The Gridley athletic director told the Herald that the soccer program’s fields were leveled and reseeded in 2023. He added that the infrastructure of the layout is set up for lights and a permanent scoreboard in the next couple of years.

Gridley freshman Santiago Gonzales (2) goes up to try and clear the ball in the Bulldogs’ 2-1 win against Orland on Thursday, February 1.

Four new bleachers were purchased with grant money from the North Valley Community Foundation as a part of the Butte Strong Fund for both sides of spectators.

The Bulldogs have yet to be defeated on their home field in the last 14 matches. Barajas told the Herald it is going to take a special effort for an opposing team to come in and beat them at home.

Gridley senior goalie Elias Santillan had 12 saves, as in the final minute of the game Orland was able to get on the scoreboard late in the 89th minute.

As the Bulldogs completed the regular season, Barajas told the Herald the biggest step moving forward is staying healthy as a squad and the touch-and-go structure in their offensive approach.

The first set of the CIF Northern Section playoff soccer points came out on Tuesday, January 30, and Gridley was placed in the second position of the Division II University Prep of Redding.

The playoff brackets are set to be announced this weekend and playoff games begin Tuesday, February 13.