ATWATER -- The Atwater High boys soccer team was never atop the conference standings during the regular season.
But when the regular season ended Thursday night, it was clear the Falcons were the best team.
They won the Central California Conference title with a 2-0 victory over crosstown rival Buhach Colony at Atwater High.
"We came out and played like we wanted it," Falcons coach Jimmy Brewer said. "We got up early and put them in a situation they weren't familiar with."
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Atwater will host the Modesto Metro Conference's No. 2 team, and Buhach Colony travels to meet the MMC winner in playoff tilts Nov. 2.
Buhach Colony (18-3-5, 9-1-2 CCC) had allowed just four goals in 11 conference games this season and never trailed.
That changed Thursday when Julian Horta scored the game's first goal, his 13th of the year, midway through the first half.
Atwater (19-2-5, 9-0-3 CCC) midfielder Hector Carmona shot the ball near the goal, with two Atwater players going for the header to score and Buhach Colony goalkeeper Martin Aguilar going for the save. The three players collided and the ball shot out to a wide open Horta, who easily scored.
"It was just a ball thrown into a pile and we had our guys just go get it," Brewer said. "It wasn't really pretty, but it showed the desire."
Carmona set the play up by dribbling past a defender. He also was involved in Atwater's second goal.
Carmona's corner kick sailed long but right to Jesse Horta, who headed it back into the box. Midfielder Jose Hernandez headed the pass inside the left post for his sixth goal of the year and gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead.
"The (corner) kick was a little too far, but I just backed up and tried to get it back to the center," Jesse Horta said. "I wanted to give someone else a chance to put it in."
Brewer said the goal "kind of iced the game."
Atwater's defense was solid after the goals, routinely clearing the ball out and limiting Buhach Colony's shots on goal.
Buhach Colony was without one of its top defenders in Anthony Gutierrez for the second half. As the first half was about to end, Gutierrez argued with an official and received consecutive yellow cards, which earned him a red card. The red card ejected him from the game, but the team was allowed to substitute.
The two teams had already locked up playoff spots for next week, but the game meant a lot to the players and the fans, as about 3,000 showed up to root for both teams.
Atwater students rushed the field after the game and celebrated with the players. The fans formed a human tunnel at midfield and after a chat with Brewer, the team ran under the tunnel.
"This game meant a lot to us," Hernandez said. "We were trying to come in here and knock out Buhach and get the CCC title, back to back."