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Gridley Herald

Moving on to State

Feb 29, 2024 03:27PM ● By Steven Bryla, photos by Steven Bryla and Salvador Anguiano

Gridley junior Nolan Weagant (1) attempts to drive up field in the Bulldogs 4-2 defeat to University Prep on Saturday, February 24 in the NSCIF Division II final.


OROVILLE, CA (MPG) - If you love rivalries, family ties and adrenaline making your heart race nonstop, the Gridley Bulldogs boys soccer team 4-2 victory in penalty kicks over their cross-town rival in the Live Oak Lions had it all on Tuesday, February 20.

The two teams met in the CIF Northern Section semifinals Division II bracket and the first meeting between the rivals since they met in the 2023 CIF NS D-II finals.

There’s no question that both teams know one another what one another is like on and off the soccer field, but when the opening whistle blew in the game, it was the city name on the jersey that mattered most.

As both teams were physical and had opportunities of runs plenty throughout the match, it was a dead draw after regulation.

Nery Martinez Bulldogs final

Gridley sophomore Nery Martinez (21) goes up field in the Bulldogs 4-2 loss on Saturday, February 24 to University Prep in the NSCIF Division II final.


Gridley head coach Jesse Barajas and Live Oak head coach Rudy Rosales both expressed to the Herald it was going to be a battle and it couldn’t have been advertised any better than the game play.

Although the game was moved to Harrison Stadium in Oroville due to weather concerns for the game, both teams flourished on the turf and left it all on the field and the fans from both communities had their cities' pride displayed in Oroville.

After the 80 regulated minutes and clear skies, it was dead locked at zero. The two teams played two 10-minute halves where it was still scoreless and had two five-minute halves where it was sudden death at that time. After the total 110 minutes of scoreless soccer and phenomenal goalie defense on the field, it was time for penalty kicks.

Towards the beginning of the final five-minute half, it started to sprinkle and progressively continued until it was time for penalty kicks, and it started to pour on the turf.

Barajas made a goalie switch for penalty kicks as senior Adrian Santillan, who has been out in recent games due to resting, stepped in the box and stopped two of the four Live Oak shots.

Barajas expressed to the Herald he made the switch from senior Elias Santillan to Adrian due to a gut feeling. As the Bulldogs put their fourth penalty kick in the back of the net of the best-of-five scenario to clinch the victory, the whole bench erupted, and everyone let the happy emotions out.

Gridley Alexander Sanchez Lions

Live Oak senior defender Alexander Sanchez (9) cuts a pass off in the Lions defeat 4-2 in penalty kicks to Gridley on Tuesday, February 20.


Although it ended well for Gridley, the Lions season came to an end and this 2024 class of seniors accomplished a lot in their time at Live Oak. The seniors leave with two section title rings and a lot of memories with one another.

Live Oak will have holes to fill next season but expect them to retain their culture and continue to be a force in the Butte View League as they join the league in realignment beginning for the 2024 fall season.

Gridley lost to University Prep 4-2 on Saturday, February 24 in the Division II final and were given the No. 5 seed in the CIF Division IV NorCal Boys Soccer Championships and traveled to Tuolumne this past Tuesday and played at Summerville High School.

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