PITTSBURG -- In 2008, the Pittsburg High boys soccer team broke up Monte Vista's streak of two straight North Coast Section championships.
Six years later, the Pirates will be trying to break up an even more dominant run, as later this month they'll aim to be the team that ends De La Salle's five-year reign in the Division I playoff bracket.
However, winning an NCS title will not be the ultimate factor in determining the success of this season. The Pirates, who lead the Bay Valley Athletic League, feel as if it has already been a success.
"I believe we've already done that," Pittsburg coach Juan Penate said. "From preseason to this point the boys have done all that has been asked of them with a particular emphasis on academics."
The Pirates are having a great season on the field so far, but the focus for the program's sake, is off the field.
"The focus of our team like any other in BVAL is to simply win on and off the field," Penate said. "The entire program is driven by successful academics, citizenship then soccer."
This is a great approach for a coach in his first season leading the varsity team, even though Penate took over the reigns at a school that expects big things from its soccer program.
"It has been a very busy season thus far. The responsibilities of head coach require a lot of planning and organization," Penate said. "I have hired a new coaching staff, and we put our emphasis in developing a solid soccer foundation. I personally want our players to be recognized for all their abilities, on and off the field."
Penate has handled his first season well, as the Pirates entered this week with an unbeaten 4-0-0 mark in the BVAL, a 13-1-1 overall record and a No. 1 ranking in the East Bay by Bay Area News Group.
Pittsburg beat Newark Memorial 4-0 on Jan. 25 in one of its most impressive performances of the season. Pittsburg had the lion's share of the possession and showed the creativity that has every other Division I team on notice that it is a NCS title contender.
Esteban Berumen had a hat trick, scoring the Pirates' first two goals. He scored in the 21st minute on a beautiful volley, added another seven minutes later after a great ball by Javier Valencia and got his third on a penalty kick just before the final whistle. Pittsburg also scored nine minutes into the second half when Berumen let the ball run through to Jesus Torres in the box, who put it away.
Berumen entered the week with 19 goals, tied for most in the East Bay.
The Pirates' win added to their already impressive resume which also includes nonleague wins over San Ramon Valley and El Cerrito.
"Our boys are as talented as any in BVAL and our preseason and BVAL opening has shown this," Penate said. "We hope to build on our early success in league."
Read more on East Bay boys soccer and other sports by visiting www.ibabuzz.com/prepcorner.