By CARL DUBOIS
Of the News-Register
Isaac Gutierrez wasn't wearing the right jersey to be goalkeeper, but pressed into service on short notice Monday night, he was suddenly dressed to the nines.
Or to the none - as in no goals.
Gutierrez, filling in after starter Ryan Aker received a yellow card with about seven minutes left in the first half, made the save on a close-range penalty kick, and McMinnville went on to clinch a third consecutive Pacific Conference championship with a scoreless draw against Hillsboro.
Mac (10-2-1) will end the regular season vs. Newberg (0-12-1) at 7:30 p.m. today at the Austin Sports Complex at George Fox.
Mac's girls have Senior Day at 4:30 p.m. today (see B3).
The Grizzlies wrapped up the league title with plenty of drama on a night when the lack of scoring belied the fierce action at Wortman Stadium.
"Both teams were good," Mac coach Chuck Bechtol said. "We had opportunities. They had a couple opportunities."
Gutierrez, one of a baker's dozen 12th-graders honored on Senior Night, made the play of the match, a few seconds after what was previously the play of the match.
Miguel Angeles, another senior, hustled to an empty goal to save what would have been the only goal of the game, reacting and kicking the ball away with an airborne, backward kick.
"Miguel's effort to get back and prevent that goal was huge," Bechtol said.
Angeles said he put himself in the shoes of the Hillsboro forward and anticipated the play, which helped put him in the right spot.
Aker, who had come out from the goal to try to stop the attack by the Spartans (8-2-3), was sent to the sideline.
"They said Ryan came out late and got him," Bechtol said, shrugging. "Judgment call."
The contact meant a penalty kick by Hillsboro's Manuel Campuzano from short range. It also meant Gutierrez had to come off the bench and spring into action.
"He had a white jersey on," Angeles said. "He had to switch to black - black, black, white. He didn't even warm up to play goalie today. He came up out of nowhere and played the last seven minutes (of the half) as goalie and made a huge save."
Gutierrez said at first he thought the call that stopped play was a goal, rather than a yellow card on Aker. Quickly, Guiterrez had to grab his other jersey and get in goal.
He anticipated Campuzano kicking the ball one way, but it went the other, and Guiterrez got enough of the ball with his lower leg to deflect it away from the net.
"I kind of read his body," Gutierrez said, "and I thought he was going to go to my left, and so I dove to my left, and I got lucky enough to extend my legs and block the shot."
Angeles said it gave him goosebumps, which he expected to resurface later the more he replayed the sequence in his mind.
"Big-league save," Bechtol said. "He made a great save. He's a very good goalkeeper. He's probably the second-best goalkeeper in the league.
"His only curse is he's been stuck behind Ryan for four years, but he's a very good goalkeeper."
Aker returned for the second half.
The atmosphere all night was electric, matching the guitar version of the national anthem. Mac's Adrian Rubio was aggressive from the start, and Nick Autencio had several chances barely miss.
Hillsboro goalkeeper Jose Landeros was sensational at times, and the teams sustained their drama for 80 scoreless minutes.
Dylan Leathers and Dustin Munger, both Mac seniors, both injured, did not play. Bechtol said they're doubtful for tonight vs. Newberg. The Grizzlies expect to give their other seniors a lot of playing time against the Tigers.