Diablo Foothill Athletic League schools have dominated the North Coast Section Division II boys soccer playoffs for the last decade, and Campolindo High was looking to give the league its ninth Division II title in 11 years on Saturday.
But Concord ended those aspirations -- and made some history along the way.
The Minutemen, who allowed two goals or more just twice this season, topped the Cougars 1-0 at Alhambra High to claim the program's first-ever NCS championship.
"This is everybody's dream when they get into high school," Concord senior captain Emmanuel Jimenez said. "I had to wait four years, but my high school dream came true and we worked really hard for it."
In a physical and hotly contested match, both defenses protected the back line well, making Evan Farmer's 19th minute goal all the more critical for Concord (16-2-5).
Andy Altamirano's ball into the box got behind Campolindo's entire back line and Farmer found himself with an open net and calmly guided the ball home.
As time wound down in the second half, Campolindo (18-8-2) pressured the Concord net but couldn't get anything past Jimenez and his defense, which surrendered only 15 goals all season.
"We just had an off-day," Campolindo coach Shane Carney said. "We didn't perform at the level we wanted or we had been."
De La Salle 1, San Ramon Valley 0: Nick Dildine's golden goal deep into the first overtime gave the Spartans a win
Dildine's goal came off a header from Tony Bell, and gave the Spartans their fifth straight Division I section title.
The same two teams met in the 2009 NCS Division I final, which also went to overtime. De La Salle won that game, starting their incredible and unprecedented run in the section playoffs.
"It s such an amazing feeling and to be the guy who scores the game-winning goal is something else," Dildine said. "We want to see the seniors go out on top, that was my mission heading into this game, and I'm so blessed to be able to help do it."
The two teams stood toe-to-toe for regulation and deep into the first overtime, and the Wolves (18-7-3) more than held their own.
They hit the Spartans (18-3-6) early and dominated a large portion of the first half, then nearly scored a few times at the end of regulation and at overtime.
But that steady Spartans defense was able to keep the dam from busting, as they usually do.
"We knew they were going to bring a lot of pressure," senior defender Kellen Simons said. "We knew we had to get past the first 20-25 minutes and we dealt with their pressure well, and of course Tino was fantastic for us."
Senior keeper Andrew Konstantino had several key saves in posting his 13th shutout of the year,
San Ramon Valley 1, Monte Vista 0: Megan Turner said it best: The fourth time was the charm for the Wolves' senior soccer players.
Turner's goal in the 42nd minute earned San Ramon Valley a win over rival Monte Vista in the NCS Division I championship at Dublin High.
The top-seeded Wolves, who finished the season unbeaten, collected a section-record seventh girls title, but it was their first since 2009.
That made this one extra special against the defending champion Mustangs (12-6-6), seeded second.
"It's unbelievable. I can't even describe what I feel right now," Turner said. "It feels awesome."
The Wolves were making their eighth consecutive appearance in the Division I championship match. They won four straight titles from 2006 to 2009.
After a scoreless first half, the Wolves (20-0-5) broke through. Turner fed the ball to Alexa Vandevanter on the right. Her low shot bounced off goalkeeper Hannah Clark, and Turner, who is headed to Stanford, pounded in the rebound. The goal appeared to wake up the Monte Vista attack.
The Mustangs nearly scored twice, including on a 40-yard Chelsea Barry free kick off the crossbar. In the final seconds after an illegal touch in the penalty box by Wolves goalkeeper Zoey Bauman, Monte Vista failed to convert.
"It was a good game," Monte Vista coach Brett LeQuesne said. "We played well. They played well. It came down to one opportunity."
-- Matt Schwab
Bishop O'Dowd 0, Piedmont 0: The Dragons kept knocking, but Piedmont goalkeeper Kesy Platt wouldn't let them in.
Finally, Bishop O'Dowd kicked the door down in penalty kicks to earn a second consecutive NCS Division II championship.
The No. 1 seeded Dragons prevailed 3-2 over the No. 6 Highlanders in a shootout at Dublin High after the teams battled scoreless through 80 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of sudden-death overtime.
O'Dowd freshman keeper Lorna McElrath clinched the victory with a diving save on Erin Greening's attempt in the fifth round, after O'Dowd's brilliant playmaker Stephanie Zuniga converted in the fourth round to make it 3-2.
The unflappable Platt made 12 saves overall, also converting a penalty kick in the shootout. The balanced Highlanders' defense withstood steady pressure from the powerful Dragons attack.
"We just couldn't put it in the goal. We were worried about that," O'Dowd coach Jon Nishimoto said. "We knew that their goalkeeping was strong and their defenders were extremely strong, so it would tough to break down their back line and put a ball in the goal. We were prepared for a tough game."
Piedmont coach Dan Chubbock was thrilled with his team's performance.
"We took it to the last kick of the game, that's all we could have asked," he said. "We knew that it was going to have to be a dogged performance."
-- Matt Schwab