By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
MUSKOGEE — Edmond North’s Trevor Moore may have robbed the Husky’s share of the glory, netting a hat trick in the Class 6A West boys 4-1 All-State soccer victory Saturday night at the Indian Bowl. Still, Norman North’s Mauro Cichero stole the show.
It was Cichero who assisted Moore’s first tally, a left-side cross that served up Moore for an almost easy header into the net. Yet, after the East made it 2-1 with 15:27 remaining, it was Cichero with maybe the second best goal of his final year of high school soccer.
It wasn’t the bicycle kick that beat Edmond Memorial in double overtime, but a 32-yard blast that maybe only he can deliver.
A rarity, he had time to line it up. After doing that, from the mid-point between the football hash marks, the whole crowd ready for it, he screamed a left-footed laser just inside the right post.
“I don’t know if I scored any like that this season,” he said. “Those goals are really nice.”
Seems like he must have; or maybe it was junior season when he scored a bunch from distance. Whatever, it was very familiar.
“I don’t know how far out it was,” said Norman High’s Theo Ostas, who got to share the field with Cichero for the first time as a teammate. “I think it got the post. It was a crazy shot.”
A crazy shot and maybe a couple of crazy games. Before the West boys prevailed, the West girls also triumphed, 1-0, over the East. And if a thread ran through both games, it was the competitive intensity, making for two plenty physical battles despite the game, by definition, being a simple exhibition.
The NFL and the NBA can’t seem to make their all-stars care about the game that honors them, but Class 6A soccer players in Oklahoma have no problem putting on a show.
“Absolutely,” said Cole Johnson, Cichero’s high school teammate. “We’ve all played each other our whole lives. The second half, it definitely picked up. Everybody wanted to give their best effort.”
Fouls were called with frequency. No cards were issued, but a couple could have been.
“I think it’s just how everybody plays,” offered Kali Newman, the Norman North keeper who occupied the West net in the second half of the opener. “We all have a very competitive mindset and we bring it on the field and physicality is definitely a part of that.”
Perhaps nobody should be so surprised. Maybe it’s just an East-West, or a West-East, kind of thing.
“Towards the end it did become really rough,” Moore’s Jordan Cleveland said of the girls game. “I expected it to become pretty feisty, because it’s a big rivalry.”
The locals accounted themselves well.
Playing the back line, North’s Bri Kuestersteffen snuffed out several East threats all by herself. Ostas had chances to score, but couldn’t quite find the net. Newman didn’t have to stand on her head, but was great in traffic off East set pieces.
Johnson was Johnson, playing hard the whole way. Matt Hockett proved he could play more than one position, playing a half in back and half in the midfield. And Cichero made jaws drop, giving the West some insurance less than four minutes after Bishop Kelley’s Daniel Baone made it a one-goal game.
As doubleheaders go, it wasn’t very convenient, taking place more than two hours from Norman.
On the other hand, it was a heck of an evening, with several familiar faces playing some very big roles.
“That was really fun,” Ostas said.
Yes it was.
Follow me @clayhorning
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