By Bob Narang

Prep Sports Report –

West Chicago seniors Tristan Alfaro and D’Marcus Marin were the last players to walk off the field on Championship Sunday presented by PepsiCo last month in LaGrange.

The duo made the slow walk from the middle of the field to the exit area, keeping their heads down on a muggy, summer-like September afternoon. The Wildcats had just fallen short of one of their main season goals, losing to Rockford Boylan 2-1 in a title match at the 19th annual event.

“We have high exceptions in this program, so it’s never fun to lose,” said Marin, who along with Alfaro was an integral part during West Chicago’s 3A state championship run in 2019. It marked the first state crown for the soccer program and just the second overall (1974 football) for the school.

“We have the talent and energy to win state again,” Alfaro said. “Two years ago, our whole starting lineup was seniors. This year, we have a lot of sophomores and juniors. So the seniors have to set an example.”

West Chicago coach Jose Villa, a 2006 alum of the program, led his squad to a 16-5-1 regular season record this fall. When combined with 2019 and 2021 spring campaign, the Wildcats are unbeaten in 56 of their last 65 games.

Villa admitted not winning PepsiCo was disappointing, but he hopes that loss motivates his team when it opens its state-title defense on Oct. 20 vs. a pesky Willowbrook squad.

“We’ve won other tournaments, but one thing this group was missing was a PepsiCo championship,” Villa said. “That loss was tough to take, because it was the first time ever that we were in the final.

“We truly wanted to achieve that for the first time. It’s unfortunate, but hopefully it will make us stronger, make us better and push us for what’s next.”

Bio on reporter: Bob Narang has been covering prep recruiting and sports for the past 26 years. His work also appears in the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and the DeKalb Daily Chronicle.