Fontes hat-trick and Aparicio reinforcement sends St. Joseph boys football to state championship game | News, Sports, Jobs


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The St. Joseph Catholic High boys’ soccer team celebrates a goal by Ricky Aparicio, second from right, in the 2A State Semifinals against Millard on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at Juan Diego High.

Patrick Carr, Standard Examiner

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The St. Joseph Catholic High boys’ football team gathers before their 2A State Semi-Final game against Millard on Tuesday, May 10, 2022 at Juan Diego High.

Patrick Carr, Standard Examiner

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DRAPER — Paolo Franco gathered the boys’ football team from St. Joseph Catholic High in a circle before the Jayhawks kicked off their 2A State Semifinal on Tuesday against Millard.

Franco pointed to a spot on the field near where the team was assembling. Goalkeeper Josh Ortiz turned to Franco and asked, “Are you superstitious?

“Yes,” Franco replied.

The remark sparked a conversation about pre-game superstitions. Second-year midfielder Edward Ramirez explained how he puts on his socks and shin guards in a certain order.

Whatever everyone’s superstitions are, they can say they worked. After an opening 15 minutes filled with more offside calls than shots on goal, Saint-Joseph came to life.

Rick Aparicio and Daniel Fontes scored two goals each in seven minutes in the first half as the No. 3 Jayhawks (16-1) led 5-0 at halftime and beat No. 7 Millard 8-0. Fontes had a hat trick in the 69th minute for the eighth goal for St. Joseph, who invoked the mercy rule.

Since the UHSAA began sponsoring a 2A men’s soccer classification, St. Joseph has never won a men’s soccer state championship. SJC lost in the semi-finals last season and didn’t have a chance to play for a title.

This year, the Jayhawks will take to the stage at Rio Tinto Stadium on Wednesday against regional rival Rowland Hall.

“Oh, that feels good,” Aparicio said.

Tuesday was particularly enjoyable for Aparicio, who missed last year’s state semifinal loss through suspension via a red card the previous game.

“It feels good to come back this year, finally to win and now we are on our way to the final. I’m so excited. I can’t explain how excited I am right now,” Aparicio said.

School principal Clay Jones told the team that Wednesday would be half a day at school so students could attend the title game kickoff at 2 p.m.

“That’s what we’ve been planning all season. Focus all the time, respect, of course, all the teams – but our goal from the start was to win the state (championship),” Franco said.

Keaton Gill scored from a free kick late in the first half. Jonathan Ramirez’s long goal made it 6-0 in the 49th minute. Garret Aust’s header made it 7-0 and Fontes chipped the keeper for 8-0, a hat trick and a win through the mercy rule.

Fontes entered the game as the state’s top scorer with 27 goals. The hat trick gives him 30 goals this season, which ranks him 3rd on the UHSAA’s single-season goalscoring list.

Millard didn’t threaten St. Joseph’s goal until the 56th minute and Ortiz blocked a low shot to keep the shutout intact.

Millard (13-6) was the last prospect in the bracket for Public Schools 2A. Since Manti won the 2A men’s soccer title in 2012, a private or charter school has won the title every year thereafter.

For the first 15 minutes, Millard held very well, playing a line high enough with his defenders to catch St. Joseph in a handful of early offside calls. The figurative barrage broke on Aparicio’s first goal.

As for Wednesday’s final at 2 p.m., the Jayhawks have beaten Rowland Hall twice this season, but by scores of 1-0 each time.

“We had that with Waterford, it was a tough game…we know them, we know their players,” Franco said.


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