King City Mustangs capture the 2022 CIF NorCal Division V Boys Soccer Championship title after beating Wheatland High School, 2-1, last Saturday, March 5. (Courtesy of California Interscholastic Federation)

KING CITY — After beating Live Oak High School to advance to the CIF NorCal Division V Boys Soccer Championship finals, the King City Mustangs had not only a chance to make history, but also the opportunity to connect with their past.

On March 4, before the NorCal Division V semifinals against Live Oak, the entire King City High School student body sent the Mustang boys’ varsity team off by forming long lines and clapping as they made their way to the bus.

During the celebratory sendoff, King City’s leading goal scorer Victor Narez was asked by a student, “How many goals are you going to score?” His response was holding up four fingers. 

Later that day, the Mustangs ended up beating Live Oak 4-1, with Narez scoring all four goals in the match. In five postseason games, Narez scored 11 goals, including the final six goals of the season.

The win earned King City a spot in the finals against the fifth seed Wheatland High, who had beat the No. 1 seed Leadership High. To get to the March 5 finals, the Mustangs had already defeated the second- and third-seeded teams by outsourcing them 7-1.

On Saturday, the Mustangs had to travel more than four hours to Wheatland for a chance at making history. Many members of the King City community also made the drive, as the game saw a great turnout of local fans.

In the first half, both teams were held scoreless. It was the first time in the postseason that the Mustangs didn’t score a first-half goal. In the second half, Narez scored the Mustangs’ first goal to give them their first lead of the game.

During the postseason, King City never trailed in a match.

As the game entered the final minutes, King City was moments away from capturing the title, but Wheatland scored to tie up the game at 1-1, forcing overtime.

Wheatland came close in overtime, but King City goalie Jesus Montoya made a great block to keep the game tied. In the end, it was Narez’s second goal of the game that would be the most crucial one of the season to give the Mustangs the NorCal Division V Championship title. 

The last time a King City High School team won a NorCal Championship was the girls’ volleyball team back in 1991.

As the Mustangs team rushed the field to celebrate, emotions were pouring out of the players and the fans in the stands.

King City’s Jace Espino, whose father played goalie back in 1987 when the Mustangs won the CCS Division II soccer championship, now gets a banner right next to his father’s. 

“I’m grateful to be a part of something special like this,” Espino said. “Without my dad’s help, I wouldn’t be here.”

When the Mustangs arrived back to campus, it was past midnight, but they weren’t greeted by an empty parking lot. Members of the community welcomed them back with glorious applause. 

“It feels unreal,” Espino said. “The support the team and I have been receiving has been amazing.”

All year Espino has been saying, “Job not finished.” After Saturday’s win, however, that saying has now changed.

“Job is finished,” he said.

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Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.


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