With his soccer team mired in a late-season funk, Adrian Romero decided to shake things up.
"The first nine (Modesto Metro Conference) games, we gave up only two goals and were playing very well," said Downey High's coach. "The last four, we struggled more than we should have."
So Romero moved Scott Canahan from sweeper to forward for Friday's regular-season finale, and it produced a quick payoff.
Canahan scored twice and the Knights upset first-place Modesto 4-0 to clinch the conference's second berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
Modesto (13-8-2, 9-4-2) will host a playoff opener and hopes to play next Saturday at Downey. Downey (10-5-3, 8-3-4) will travel.
It's the third consecutive season Downey has earned a playoff berth on the final day -- and it's been the No. 2 berth each time.
"If we play the way we did today, I think we have a good shot at winning," Romero said. "In our last four games, we had a tie and three losses, but we should have won a couple of those."
There was little doubt Downey would snap that winless streak after Canahan scored the second of his two goals, making it 3-0 midway through the second half.
"Scott said before the match he would score two goals. He was very determined," said Romero, whose club didn't score in its first two matches with Modesto.
Sam Bell's goal 28 minutes into the match put Downey up 1-0, and the defense made sure that would be enough. With Felix Padron in the sweeper spot, goalie Diego Vera had to make just five saves and had a leisurely day.
"We don't have one player who can take the ball downfield and get his own goal, so we struggle at times," Romero said, who moved Canahan to offense in the final minutes of Wednesday's draw against Beyer. "Scott got us fired up, though, when he scored a goal to tie the game. I think that emotion was with us today, too."
BEYER 2, DAVIS 1, at Davis -- Goals by Bryan Lewis and Michell Simon helped the Patriots (6-5-4 MMC) top the Spartans (6-4-5). Davis coach Ethan Duewell said what would have been a tying goal by the Spartans on a free kick was called back because the referee was not ready to resume the game.
JOHANSEN 2, ENOCHS 1, at Enochs -- Down 1-0 at halftime, the Vikings (5-8-2 MMC) went to an all-out attack in the second half with two defenders, five in the midfield and three strikers. Goals by Jose Luis Rodriguez and Hugo Jimenez gave them the win. Charles Cytanovich scored for the Eagles (2-12-1).
JC Women's Soccer
MODESTO JC 10, SACRAMENTO CITY 0, at Modesto -- Vanessa Stanfield had three goals for the Pirates (12-3-3, 5-3-2 Big 8) and Chelsie Bledsoe and Jackie Ibanez two each. Ibanez also had two assists and Carly Genzoli a goal and two assists.
MJC plays a doubleheader Tuesday, with the women vs. Cosumnes River at 2 p.m. and the men vs. West Hills at 4.
JC Cross Country
MJC MEN, at Big 8 Championships (Rocklin) -- Benny Perez of Modesto was sixth in 23:56 over the Sierra College four-mile course and teammate John Rea ninth in 24:15 as MJC placed third. Perez was first-team all-league and Rea (who used an excellent kick to pass three runners at the end) second-team. Marcos Barba was 19th in 25:24. Nelson Mwangi of team champ American River won in 22:56.
MJC coach Demitrius Snaer said he was happy with his team, especially Perez.
"Benny's work ethic is unparalleled," Snaer said. "He is not usually the most gifted athlete in the race but definitely the most dedicated."
MJC WOMEN, at Big 8 Championships (Rocklin) -- Freshman Ana Mendez's second-place finish in 20:59 helped the Pirates to a fifth-place finish. Teammate Natalie Benoy was 14th in 22:59 over 3.1 miles. Mendez was first-team all-league, Benoy second-team. Asma Mohammadi of Diablo Valley won in 20:39. Ameircan River won the team title.
It was the first Big 8 Championship for MJC, which formerly competed in the CVC.
"There is a lot more depth than we had in the CVC," said Modesto women's coach Mary Shea. "I was happy with our performance today."
Shea said, "Ana ran a solid race. Prior to the race, she was a little apprehensive about the hills, but she came through and ended up running an exceptional race."
High School Volleyball
BIG VALLEY CHR. 3, STOCKTON CHR. 0, at Modesto -- Jennifer Masui had 10 kills and Tiffany Miller seven aces as the Lions (17-9, 10-1 Harvest Christian League) won 27-25, 25-23, 25-22. BVC is at Wilton Christian (10-1) on Monday, with the winner taking the league title.