AURORA – Ivan Navarro and Freddy Navarro aren’t exactly sure how they’re related, but Stayton High School’s senior forwards think they’re second cousins.
There is no doubt there is some sort of connection between them.
Ivan Navarro scored two goals and Freddy Navarro scored the game winner as Stayton defeated North Marion 3-2 on the road Tuesday afternoon to take control of the Oregon West Conference in the rematch of last year’s Class 4A state championship game.
Just don’t ask how them exactly how they’re related.
“Me and him, we work good together, we pass the ball well to each other,” Ivan Navarro said. “We kind of know how we play with each other. We just get passes together and create good chances and finish the ones that we get.”
Stayton (9-0-2, 6-0-2) has two conference games remaining and moved ahead of last year’s state champion Huskies (10-1-1, 6-1-1) in the conference.
Given that Stayton came into the match No. 2 in the OSAA’s power rankings and North Marion No. 4, Tuesday’s result shows that the Eagles are one of the top teams in the state.
“Our situation is that we do really well with what we have, and I feel like we put ourselves in the position to put our talent on the field wherever it’s going to get the best results,” Stayton coach Chris Shields said.
“Yeah, it is a 2 and 4 matchup, but they’re a good team and 9 out of 10 times they’re probably going to beat you. We’re happy with this one. We’re happy with the opportunity to at least be in control of our own destiny.”
Stayton tied back-to-back games against North Marion and Cascade earlier this season and decided to implement a new scheme: Put the Navarro cousins up top and put the rst of the field players on defense.
It worked Thursday against a North Marion team that was overly aggressive on offense.
The Huskies pushed a lot of players forward in the opening minutes, but Ivan Navarro took a pass from Freddy Navarro near midfield, raced past three North Marion defenders and oncoming goalkeeper Patrick Amezcua for a dribbling goal in the 12th minute for a 1-0 lead.
“Ivan, I think, is the best player in the conference, and I think he’s one of the best players in the state, hands down,” Shields said. “And you saw it again today. When he’s on the field, you have a chance.
“He’ll give you an opportunity because he’ll work hard, he’s smart, and he’ll do the simple things, little things to help you win games, and he brings the level up for everybody else.”
North Marion tied the game in the 25th minute as Edgar Lopez put in a shot off a Stayton defender, and the game was tied 1-1 at halftime.
Ivan Navarro scored on another runner in the 43rd minute to take the lead back and Freddy Navarro scored 12 minutes later off an assist from Ivan Navarro for a 3-1 Stayton lead.
It makes sense that the Navarro cousins have such a tight bond on the field as they’ve been playing soccer together since they started playing the game.
“We just have that chemistry since we were little,” Freddy Navarro said. “We know each other very well.”
North Marion’s Leo-Rey Ramirez scored a goal with six minutes left, but North Marion’s Dennis Zapata, last year’s state player of the year, was injured in the final minutes and had to be helped off the field.
Stayton’s freshman goalkeeper Jose Navarro had 12 saves and displayed the athleticism that earned him the job to start his first season of high school soccer.
“When he came in at first as a freshman I didn’t think he was going to be too good, and then he got into some games, he started as varsity goalkeeper and he turned out really good,” said Ivan Navarro, a cousin of Jose Navarro. “He’s better than we expected.”
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Stayton 3, North Marion 2
At North Marion
STA- Ivan Navarro 12:00; NM- Lopez 25:00; STA- Ivan Navarro 43:00; STA- Freddy Navarro 55:00; Ramriez 74:00.