Last year, circumstance awarded Trout Lake the Greater Columbia B League boys soccer championship and the league's top seed into the state 1A/B playoffs.
This season the Mustangs earned it. And they left no doubt by winning seven straight matches and eight of their last nine, including last Friday's 3-1 decision over visiting Sunnyside Christian.
That win gained Trout Lake the league title and a two-match lead in the standings over Day Star Christian of Moses Lake, the Mustangs' primary rival for trophy honors.
In 2000, league officials disqualified and stripped Day Star of the league title, its eight regular-season victories and a berth to the playoffs for using three ineligible players.
Trout Lake, which finished one win back of Day Star last year, took control of the 2001 league race on Oct. 12.
That's when the Mustangs (7-1, 11-3) pinned a second loss on Day Star, 3-1, and claimed the season series 2-1.
A week later, Trout Lake upended Sunnyside Christian (3-4, 4-8) in its home finale behind senior Dustin Poland's two goals and junior Andrew Dick's two assists.
The Knights' Daryl Haak began the scoring in the 10th minute of play, but Mustangs goalkeepers Ben McKinney and Marcus Van Laar combined to shut them out the rest of the way.
The Mustangs evened the score at 1 apiece in the 20th minute, with Poland sending his 16th goal of the season into the back of the net, off senior Jerry Duke's pass.
Six minutes later, Dick and freshman Peter Schmid combined to assist Poland on his second goal of the day and 33rd of his career, and give the Mustangs a 2-1 edge.
Trout Lake added an insurance goal in the 67th minute as Dick scored on a feed from senior Ben Anderson, the school's all-time scoring leader with 50 goals.
Trout Lake 2, at Riverside Christian 1 --
The Mustangs zeroed in on the GCB crown Oct. 16 with a one-goal victory over the Crusaders in Yakima.
Dustin Poland scored the winning goal for the Mustangs in the 75th minute, on an assist from Kris Huffsmith.
The senior also put in the first goal of the match. It came in the seventh minute on a penalty kick, following a handball violation in the penalty area.
Riverside's James McKinney fed Toby Dittmer for a goal midway through the first half to tie things up. The score remained 1-1 until Huffsmith passed the ball to Poland for the game-winner.
Though it managed just two goals, Trout Lake kept Crusaders goalkeeper Jimmy Van Beek busy tending his team's net.
The Mustangs pressured Riverside repeatedly and peppered shot after shot at Van Beek, who finished with 20 saves.
Junior netminder Marcus Van Laar, in contrast, made only seven saves -- a tribute to a Mustangs' defense that has recorded three shutouts this year and allowed only one goal or less in seven of the last nine matches.
With the victory, the Mustangs extended their winning streak to six matches, and improved to 6-1 in league and 10-3 overall.
Trout Lake's win, coupled with Day Star Christian's 3-1 loss to Sunnyside Christian, gave the Mustangs' a two-match lead in the standings, with two matches remaining.
Trout Lake JV 7, at Cascade Locks, Ore. 1 --
The 3-0 Colts scored three goals in the first half and four in the second to defeat the Pirates last Thursday.
Andrew and Nathan Dick each put in two goals. Elliott Sherburne, Ian Smith and Mark Miller knocked in one apiece.
Assists went to Dustin Poland, Mike Hansen, Ben Anderson, Andrew Dick and Marcus Van Laar.