FISHERS - Mission accomplished.
After a 41-year wait, Argos claimed the high school boys soccer state championship, this time by defeating Indianapolis Lutheran, 2-1, at Fishers High School Friday night.
“I don’t know if it’s sunk in yet, but it feels really good,” said Argos head coach Todd VanDerWeele. “They deserve it. It’s been a heck of a run.”
The win is the Dragons’ fourth state title all-time, the last one coming in the fall of 1978 when all schools played in one class. The victory is the team’s 10th straight to end the season and comes with the state champion hardware.
Argos dominated possession all game with Chino Roque scoring two final goals in his last game to lead the Dragons.
“This is amazing,” said Roque. “We did it for the community and the past players.”
The Dragons outshot the Saints, 21-3, with Owen Nifong setting the tone right off the opening kickoff with a blast from 25 yards that went wide right, but Argos would keep the pressure on all game.
Other good scoring opportunities in the first half included Pablo Mata’s shot off the crossbar in the 14th minute, a header from Teddy Redinger that just went over the goal in the 39th minute and Nifong’s blast off a corner kick just before the intermission that was a little wide.
Argos did get on the board first though, when Roque settled a ball that ricocheted through a bunch of traffic in the middle of the field about 30 yards out, then calmly rifled a ball past Saints keeper Micah Mattes in the 21st minute.
"They tried to clear it and it hit me in the stomach,” added Roque. “They didn’t expect it and it went through one of their defenders’ legs and I punched it right past the keeper.”
“It looked like we were attacking, then they stopped it, then Chino is scoring,” VanDerWeele said of the scoring sequence. “I don’t really know what happened. It was a nice way to get us going. After that we were more sure of ourselves. You could see it coming, but it was nice to get it. We kept trying to attack in the middle, but they were strong there.”
The Saints rarely threatened, but in the 26th minute, Trey Lawrence received a pass on the left wing and was able to slip it in for the equalizer.
“They scored that goal and I was like, ‘How did that happen?’,” continued VanDerWeele. “That’s a credit to them. They didn’t quit. They made us work for it. They made it hard for us.”
The game-winner came in the 58th minute when Mata’s corner kick somehow found Roque’s head and ended up in the back of the net.
“Owen was in front of me and I expected him to get it,” Roque explained. “I jumped with him and it hit me in the head, then my shoulder, and it went in. It wasn’t a normal header.”
“It took a set piece to get the second one,” VanDerWeele added. “We’ve used a lot of those late in the season. We’ve got too many weapons on corners and it just takes one time.”
And now Argos has its first “official” IHSAA state championship.
Argos’ Caleb Ellis won the Mental Attitude Award. He is the first Argos student/athlete to win the award.
“He has the best attitude,” VanDerWeele said of the senior midfielder. “He comes to practice, never complains about anything. Everything is for the team. There is not a kid more deserving. He takes his studies seriously. He’s involved with extracurriculars. He’s a great kid. I’m proud of him and he deserves this.”
ARGOS 2, LUTHERAN 1
At Fishers (Class A state championship)
A - Chino Roque 21st min.
L - Trey Lawrence (Fred Hamer) 26th min.
A - Roque (Pablo Mata) 58th min.
Shots: Argos 21, Lutheran 3
Saves: Argos 1 (Colton Markley), Lutheran 7 (Micah Mattes)
Fouls: Argos 4, Lutheran 9
Corner kicks: Argos 8, Lutheran 1
Yellow cards: Argos none, Lutheran none
Record: Argos 18-4 (final), Lutheran 15-7 (final)