PASCO -- Perry McNamar made the crowd wait 88 minutes Tuesday at Chiawana High School before he clinched Richland's first league championship with a dramatic game-winning goal in double overtime.
But that wasn't nearly as long as he's had to wait to play on a winner with the Bombers.
"This is so huge. This is my first winning season on varsity," said McNamar, whose eighth goal of the year gave Richland a 2-1 win over the Riverhawks that gave the Bombers the outright CBBN 4A title, their first league championship since 2003.
Richland plays host to Davis in the CBBN 4A district championship at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bomber Field.
The Bombers finished 3-10 (tied for 11th) in 2009 and 5-9 (11th) in 2010, missing the CBBN district playoffs both seasons. Richland's last trip to districts was 2008, when it fell to Pasco in the semifinals.
But this team was destined for the postseason, according to Bombers coach Octavio DoValle.
"You're only supposed to (reach the playoffs) if you earn it. This year these guys earned it," said DoValle, who led the 2003 squad to the 4A state title. "Our team has a special bond in itself. Right from the beginning, there was a determination that came from the senior leadership. Our captain, Eric Thomas, is really a tremendous, humble bonding agent."
The winning goal was a fitting end to a back-and-forth game that featured strong chances for both sides. But in the end, McNamar was the right man in the right place.
The lanky senior midfielder took a pass from Gerard Lomas on the left wing and was immediately fronted by Chiawana defender Alex Licon. But McNamar made a quick juke to the right to elude Licon and dribbled his way into some space just outside the 6-yard box.
"I cut back to pass, but I decided to take the shot into the corner," McNamar said.
The low shot beat Riverhawks keeper Javy Peralta and bounced off the right post and into the net to end the game.
Even in defeat, Chiawana had it's own reason to celebrate, earning its first trip to the district playoffs. The Riverhawks ended the season tied with Eisenhower but earned the tie-breaker based on points. They will travel to Walla Walla at 4 p.m. Tuesday for a first-round district matchup.
"It's a little bittersweet. It's tough to lose like that, but I thought we played really well," Chiawana coach Rich Zoller said. "But you have to give credit to No. 2 (McNamar)."
Both regulation goals came in the first 10 minutes. Joe Virden curled a 25-yard free kick around the Riverhawks' defensive wall for a 1-0 lead after just three minutes. But Chiawana answered five minutes later with a beautifully-placed shot by Ariel Gonzalez, who nestled a liner from 35 yards out into the upper left corner to tie the score at 1.
The Bombers outshot the Riverhawks 16-10, but Chiawana nearly scored a go-ahead goal in the 20th minute when Rene Solorio drove a low shot from the right wing towards the left corner of the net. But Richland goalkeeper Nash Yamauchi dropped down to block the shot for one of his six saves on the day. Solorio almost got to the rebound, but Bombers defender Ryder Richardson cleared it out.
"That was the difference," DoValle said. "Chiawana played a tremendous game. When luck fell on our side, it fell. It's not like we destroyed them."
Solorio, who finished second in the CBBN 4A this year with 10 goals and seven assists, is grateful for the chance to keep playing. The Riverhawks have been competitive if not unlucky against Walla Walla, losing 2-1 in regulation on March 19 and 2-1 in a shootout on April 16.
"We've always been close," Solorio said. "Either a one-goal loss or a shootout."
Scoring--1, R, Joe Virden, 3:00; 2, C, Ariel Gonzalez, 8:00; 3, R, Perry McNamar (Gerard Lomas), 88:00. Shots--R 16, C 10. Saves--R, Nash Yamauchi 6. C, Javy Peralta 7.