Golden Valley learned the hard way that you can't ease up in an 80-minute game.
Lee Shaw's kids seem to have taken the lesson to heart, though.
GV bounced back from its nightmare 4-3 conference-opening to Buhach Colony with a 3-1 victory over Downey over the weekend.
Shaw said the team elevated its game in the final 15 minutes to secure the win.
GV repeated the feat on Tuesday afternoon against Atwater.
With both teams struggling to produce anything offensively, the Central California clash seemed doomed for a 0-0 draw.
Shaw's kids had other plans.
GV struck for a pair of goals in the last 13 minutes to pick up a 2-0 victory.
"We talked before the game about playing hard for the full 80 minutes," Shaw said. "Not much was going on in the second half, but we kept working hard and we dominated the end of the game.
"I've been telling the kids to just battle and battle and after 55 minutes things will begin to open up. It happened today."
Golden Valley (1-1 CCC, 6-3-4) probably should have been up 3-0 at the half, but Atwater goalkeeper Omar Fuentes repeatedly made up for his defense's hesitation.
The long ball over top was Atwater's downfall in the first 40 minutes.
The ball tends to bounce hard and fast on Golden Valley's home pitch and Atwater (0-1-1, 5-5-2) had trouble anticipating this.
Atwater's defense got caught watching the ball bounce a few times, and Golden Valley took advantage, springing free on a couple breakaways.
Striker Matt Hubbard had the two best chances, twice getting in on Fuentes alone.
Fuentes turned the first away with a diving left hand and caught the second in his midsection.
Set pieces caused Atwater trouble as well.
A Mike Gomez free kick rattled the crossbar and Jose Hernandez had his header on a corner kick cleared off the line by Fuentes.
"We just weren't a very skilled team today," Atwater coach Jimmy Brewer said. "We struggled to put together more than two or three passes in a row and when we did, there was no sense of urgency.
"(Fuentes) made some big saves to keep us in the game, but we never responded to it."
While Atwater's possession struggles continued into the second half, it did appear to shore things up defensively.
At least until the 68th minute when Hernandez found himself free down the right wing.
Atwater failed to react to its own goal kick and Edgar Villa happily stole the ball.
Villa slotted a through pass into the charging path of Hernandez, who took two touches and buried his shot into the bottom-left corner of the goal.
"I saw the play coming and I didn't think twice," Hernandez said. "Just a couple touches and I shot for the far post."
Gomez put the game away four minutes later with a fantastic left-footed free kick from about 25 yards out.
Gabe Jimenez made three saves for GV to earn the shutout. Fuentes finished up with six saves for Atwater.
At Golden Valley
ATWATER -- Saves: Omar Fuentes 6.
GOLDEN VALLEY -- Goals: Jose Hernandez, Mike Gomez; Assists: Edgar Villa; Saves: Gabe Jimenez 3.
Halftime Score: 0-0.
Records: Atwater 0-1-1 CCC, 5-5-2; Golden Valley 1-1 CCC, 6-3-4.
JV -- Atwater won.
BUHACH COLONY 2, TURLOCK 2
TURLOCK -- What goes around comes around. After scoring four goals in the final 5 minutes to defeat Golden Valley last week, BC watched Turlock's Jose Ortega score from 20-yards out with 5 seconds left to tie the game at 2-2.
Johnny Salazar and Jaime Mendoza scored goals for BC (1-0-1 CCC).
MERCED 3, PITMAN 1
TURLOCK -- Albert Gonzalez scored two goals and Octavio Murillo added a goal and an assist for Merced (1-1 CCC).