From the first touch of the contest, the Railroaders controlled every aspect of the game and bombarded the visitors’ goal. Within the first 14 minutes of the match SHS had built itself a 4-0 lead that turned into a 6-0 lead at halftime en route to a 9-1 victory. The barrage of Railroader goals came from a cog of Sparks players, including a four-goal performance by Kevin Partida and two goals scored by both Hector Hernandez and Ruben Pacheco.
“Whittell is a tough team. It doesn’t look like it, but it is,” Sparks coach Frank Avilla said. “Whittell beat Truckee 3-1, beat Incline 2-1. They’re playing tough games. We were just on today. We just have a lot of speed this year. I’m very proud of our squad.
“They were out there communicating and working together as a unit and pressing together on defense. Everybody came to play today and it showed on the field. I couldn’t be prouder of them. The younger guys got some time in because we’re getting ready to go into the playoffs and we’re going to need everyone. We’re trying to get more time for those guys. These kids are working together to complete a goal and today I saw all-around improvement.”
Hernandez was the first of the Railroaders to find the back of the net as he took a pass from Pacheco and buried a goal in the 5th minute for a 1-0 Sparks lead.
The Railroaders wasted little time extending their edge as Partida scored in the 9th minute with the assist going to Hernandez. While Partida used the assistance of a teammate on that goal, no help was necessary on his next goal as he took a breakaway chance and put the ball pass the Warrior keeper in the 11th minute for a 3-0 advantage.
Three minutes later, Pacheco got in on the act with an assist from Partida to push the lead to 4-0. In the 26th minute, Hernandez sent a pass to Partida, who tallied another goal in the match to earn himself a hat-trick and leaving the score at 5-0. Unsatisfied, the Railroaders added another goal just before the intermission as Partida dropped the ball off to Vicente Cervantes who sent a rocket from 40 yards out and over the outstretched hand of the WHS goalie to bring the score to 6-0.
Sparks added a trio of goals in the second half. Pacheco marked his second goal of the match in the 61st minute, Hernandez tallied his second in the 74th minute with the assist going to Oscar Gomez before Partida rounded out the scoring with his fourth goal in the 76th minute.
Whittell scored its only goal of the game on a penalty kick in the 70th minute.
While the win was impressive, Avilla said there is still a lot for the Railroaders to improve upon moving forward.
“We’re working on things in practice and we’re working on the complete game, but the one constant with these young men is they come out and work hard,” Avilla said. “It’s one of the best teams I’ve had on the field. They play well together. We’re getting more disciplined. They’re on a mission to complete a goal that they set. We still have to get better at what we do and they’re not backing off on that.”
Sparks (19-0, 12-0) will look to continue its improvement as it travels to North Tahoe on Tuesday for a match starting at 8:00 p.m.