All season, the Dunn boys soccer team had been doing a lot with a little. However, the Earwigs couldn't do enough against Hesperia.
Three Hesperia goals in the span of 10 minutes gave the Scorpions a 3-0 win over the Earwigs in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 semifinals at Dunn on Feb. 27.
The Scorpions tagged the Earwigs with their first loss this season and denied them a third divisional final appearance in the last four seasons.
Hesperia lost to El Segundo 2-0 in the Div. 5 title game on Saturday.
The Earwigs (13-1-1) edged Laguna Blanca 2-1 for the Division 7 title in 2015 and held off Hesperia Sultana for a 3-2 win in the Division 6 championship game in 2017.
Going one-on-one against Dunn goalkeeper Brima Kamara in the fifth minute of the second half Anthony Higuera, with Kamara out of the box to defend, planted a shot into the left side of the net.
"We'd only allowed two goals all year," before Tuesday said first-year Dunn coach Alex Uribe, who had a long, successful run at Santa Ynez previously.
"That was the first time we've been behind all year. We have a young team, and I think playing from behind kind of put us on our heels."
Kamara, a freshman, helped secure a win in the penalty kicks phase for the Earwigs at home against third seed Santa Paula in the second round and again in the quarterfinals at second-seeded Baldwin Park Sierra Vista Saturday.
Both games were scoreless after overtime, and Dunn won both 4-3 in the penalty kicks phase.
However, Kamara was simply powerless to stop Hesperia's well-placed shots in those crucial 10 minutes.
After Higuera's first goal, the senior striker scored again on an expertly-placed right-to-left shot that went into the left corner of the net in the 48th minute of the game.
In the 55th, Hesperia freshman Luis Roque struck another beautifully-angled shot, this one a left-ro-right one that went into the right corner of the net.
"They have some good strikers, and they took advantage," said Uribe.
The Earwigs had two subs against Santa Paula and none, thanks to injury and a second-round red card, in the quarterfinals. Dunn had three subs Tuesday.
However, Uribe didn't think the Earwigs wore down in the semis. "A lot of it was emotion and momentum, and when they scored first it just rode with them," Uribe said.
"If we had scored first, we might have had the emotion on our side and it might have been a different story."
As it was, the Earwigs only once came close to scoring. Hesperia goalkeeper Adrian Gallardo knocked a promising-looking high shot by Dunn forward Alpha Sowe just over the top bar.
"It was just those 10 minutes," said Uribe. "The rest of the time, it was pretty even."
The Scorpions nearly scored a fourth goal. A diving Kamara appeared to get his finger tips on another well-angled Hesperia shot, and the ball went wide left by inches.
Hernan Sevilla's solid defense helped Dunn stay in it in the first half. However, Heperia midfielders Leonardo Corrales and Emmanuel Benitez thwarted most of the Dunn attacks Tuesday.
At times this season, it was a victory for the Earwigs simply to be able to get on a pitch to play a game. They lost a lot of potential games because of the Thomas fire and January mudslides.
"I'm very proud of the boys for what they accomplished this year," said Uribe.