COSTA MESA — Adams Elementary's Carlos Navarro asked the coach if he could boot a corner kick in Sunday's fifth- and sixth-grade silver-division championship game.
The coach said no, Navarro shook it off and went to the goal area without a fuss.
Moments later, Navarro got to enjoy something more prestigious — a goal at the 12th annual Daily Pilot Cup in a 3-0 victory against Newport Elementary at the Costa Mesa Farm Complex.
"At first it was hard," said 17-year-old Carlos Moreno coaching in his first year. "But then we became a family. They did really good."
Newport Elementary, who also had its girls' team make it to the fifth- and sixth-grade silver-division final, trailed Adams, 2-0, after the first half.
Adams opened the scoring after Jorge Sandoval connected on a pass from Genaro Ruiz. Minutes later, Ruiz dribbled over a defender and the goalkeeper to score.
"Genaro is one of the best players on our team," Moreno said. "He didn't stop working hard."
After trailing by two goals, Newport Coach Steve Cislaw said he told his players that they were still in it.
"I told them at the half that we needed to play a little stronger D," he said. "We needed to dump down a little deeper so that we could have more chances on goal."
However, the second half saw more physical — but clean — play, making it harder for Newport Elementary to finesse down the field.
Newport Elementary's goalkeeper Zayd Nurani took a brunt of that when an Adams player contested a ball in the air that knocked Nurani down.
He shook it off, finished the game, and Cislaw said his goalkeeper really played well throughout the Pilot Cup.
"Zayd was insane," Cislaw said. "Zayd really saved us. He did a really good job."
Adams celebrated its first Pilot Cup title in this age bracket since 2006. The team had exactly 11 players on the field and played the tournament without subs.
Sometimes it was a challenge for Moreno, especially the first game when they didn't have Sandoval.
"Jorge didn't play with us during the first game," said Moreno, who cited school problems as the issue, "but he came back hungry to play."
Cislaw said his son, Tanner, was the standout player for Newport El. He said Alex Davis, Zack Durham, Barron Banta, Trevor Cislaw and Nic Rimlinger all played excellent, too.
The Newport team watched the girls' team lose to Sonora, 2-1, on the same field before its game.
Coach Cislaw said the boys' loss didn't take from what they accomplished in 2011.
"I don't think Newport El has gotten this far as a team," he said. "I said to the kids, 'In my eyes, you guys are champions. Because if you guys weren't champions, you guys would have never made it this far.'"
Steve Cislaw added he felt lucky to coach this squad and had fun watching three of his children play this year.
"As a coach and a father, anytime you could teach these kids at a youth age and be a part of this experience is a blessing," he said. "Not too many parents get to be in that position, and I'm just excited to be a part of it."