Desert View dominates Gila Ridge to advance to 5A state playoffs

Jévon, or “Jé” (pronunced JAY) Moore is one who enjoys performing on stage, so it is fitting his Desert View soccer team is back on the grandest one of them all in Class 5A competition.

For the first time in his three-year tenure at Desert View, Moore has coached the Jaguars into the 5A state playoffs following Wednesday’s 5-0 win over visiting Yuma Gila Ridge in a play-in game.

Ruben Bracamontes, a junior forward, achieved a hat trick to lead the ninth-seeded Jaguars into the playoffs that start Saturday. The bracket that will indicate where Desert View will travel Saturday for a first-round match will be revealed on Thursday.

Desert View (12-3) responded after ending the regular season with a 2-0 loss to rival Sunnyside, a perennial power, and 1-0 against highly-rated Cienega.

“We let two slip and dropping down to No. 9 was very nervous, but this win, like this, it built confidence back in the boys,” Moore said. “It got our spirit back and we should be raging into this next week.”

Moore added emphasis by saying “raaaaging.”

Moore knows all about accentuating a performance. He is an actor and playwright who has performed locally in productions such as “River City,” “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,” “What I Heard about Iraq” and “Daddy.” With a booming voice, he has staged readings like “Emmet,” “Greensboro” and “Go Chihuahuas.”

In addition to being a physical education, social studies and AVID (Advancing students Via Individual Determination) teacher, Moore has also taught drama at Lauffer Middle School.

His first two years at Desert View have been tumultuous going 4-9 in 2019-20 transitioning from David Hunter’s success with the program and then 8-7 last year through all the COVID-19 protocols.

Ruben Bracamontes achieved his first hat trick at Desert View (photo by Desert View student Alexis Vasquez)

Hunter retired following the 2018-19 season after the Jaguars went 18-4-1 with the tie coming against a Sunnyside team that won the state title and was ranked No. 5 nationally that season.

“This is my best season,” Moore said. “All I’ve ever said is, ‘I want to do better than last season — do better than last season.’ And they super — super — exceeded my expectations. I’m so proud of them.

“I put it on them. I said, ‘Hey, you guys made me proud. I’m the proudest coach out here. There’s no coach prouder. It’s about you guys. We’ve got five games to the championship. Go win five. They accepted it. They said, ‘Yes.'”

Desert View pressured Gila Ridge goaltender Luis Jabalera from the start and Jabalera was up to the challenge making two remarkable saves in the first 20 minutes of the match.

The Jaguars finally broke through at the 26-minute mark when sophomore midfielder Edgar Leyva manuevered by three defenders to kick the ball in the net.

Leyva is one of nine sophomores and juniors on the team, which also has five freshmen. Only four seniors are on the roster.

“This is the start of something new — that’s what we’ve talked about,” Leyva said. “Our freshmen, juniors, sophomores, seniors, I think we all play a big part of this team.”

Jose Bracamontes, one of the freshmen, assisted his older brother Ruben on the first of his three goals at the 32-minute mark.

“It really felt good, it touched my heart especially because he’s my brother,” Ruben said. “This is the first time we’ve played on a team together for school. It’s very different.”

Desert View further took control in the second half with numerous shots on goal, including a couple from close range by Ruben Bracamontes.

After Oscar Perelta’s goal made it 3-0 at the 53-minute mark, Ruben Bracamontes scored twice at the 74-minute mark and with 22.7 seconds remaining to achieve the hat trick.

“It’s very unexpected,” Ruben said of his hat trick. “I actually tried to do something for the team to get me somewhere. It’s getting the whole team somewhere. It feels good, especially getting assists from my teammates and me not doing everything.

“It feels pretty good working as a team.”

The defense was also resilient, anchored by senior goalie Andres Hernandez, who made a remarkable save on a free kick in the second half, extending his body at the right time to push the ball from the goal.

When asked why Desert View has made strides under his coaching, Moore said, “It’s been the character and the new type of swing I’m bringing to the program.”

“I’m really on the boys about eligibility because it’s killed us every time, but we deal with it,” he added. “I say, ‘Next man up.’ We’ve got to play until we can keep playing. I think it’s really just the chemistry.

“I believe in telling these boys they’ve got to be coachable. My philosophy is, ‘Respect yourself, respect the team and respect the game.’ I believe we do that.'”

Ruben Bracamontes achieves the hat trick with a goal in the waning seconds (photo by Desert View student Alexis Vasquez)


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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