Boys soccer NorCal 23


The boys soccer team advance to the Norcal finals before falling to Bellarmine in penalty kicks.

Ed Mahon, Staff Writer


After all the months, all the drills, all the games, it came down to penalty kicks to see if Rio Americano could claim its first Norcal soccer title. 

But before the top-ranked Raiders lined up for their shots against Bellarmine College Prep (San Jose) in the late afternoon on March 4 at El Camino High School, there were months of effort and triumph. 


On their way to a final 24-2 record, the Raiders beat Bellarmine (2-1) and neighborhood rival Jesuit (2-0) in nonleague games. They dropped a game to Inderkum then swept through the Capital Athletic League with zero losses, zero ties, outscoring opponents 55-3. Those three points came in a 5-3 win against Christian Brothers; every other game was shutout. 


After cruising past Fairfield’s Amarijo (4-0) and Mountain House (6-0), the Raiders faced their first real challenge in the playoffs when they beat Vacaville 3-2 in overtime. 

The Sac-Joaquin section championship at Cosumnes River College pitted the defending section champs against rival Jesuit, a 14-time section champion. 

The game was tense and scoreless until with 15 minutes remaining midfielder Donovan Raftery launched a pass to senior striker Andy Collins who headed the ball into the net. The Raider’s defense took it from there, recording their 18th shutout of the year. 


After beating Richmond (2-0) and Chico (1-0) in the NorCal tournament, the Raiders were ready for a rematch with Bay Area powerhouse Bellarmine.

It was a home game for Rio, but because the school lacks a stadium the game was moved to El Camino. 

After Bellarmine got on the board first, Collins answered with a penalty kick to tie the game at one apiece. And the defense anchored by keeper Nate Herron kept it that way through overtime. 

Then came the PKs and Bellarmine again and again found open net against Herron, one of the top keepers in the region. At the same time, Rio’s dominant offensive players failed to connect, and the Bells prevailed 4-1 in the shootout to take home the banner. 


Despite not winning the NorCal title, the Raiders rang up some impressive stats: Nate Herron recorded 20 shutouts in goal, while senior Kodai Gosse added another three.

On offense senior Quinn Mahoney led in goals and assists per game, racking up 28 goals and 73 points for the season. He was followed by senior Andrew Collins (23 goals, 56 points) and Blake Rennie (8 goals, 19 points). Senior midfielder Kyle Norris was also one of the team leaders in assists. Other starters included: ADD THE NAMES. 


“We built out from the back, passed it to Blake Rennie, He gave me the through-ball, I took my space, then played an early cross when I saw Andy Collins making a run to the Front Post. Andy headered it into the back corner of the net which gave us the momentum to finish out the game.” Donovan Raftery


“Felt nice to beat Jesuit for the first time in 20 years.” -Donovan Raftery


“Practices were intense, and everybody locked in to our goal to win the section-title.” Mac Hausman