Soccer Cats storm Pirates in re-do of Tuesday's match

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Mar. 15, 2007 - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats had to restart their interrupted soccer match with Pittsburg from the beginning on Wednesday afternoon. But, in essence, they picked up where they left off.

Nursing a 2-0 lead before thunderstorms interrupted the game Tuesday night just five minutes before halftime, the Wildcats regained the 2-0 lead in the first half Wednesday then stormed the net in the second half for an 8-0 victory.

The game had to be restarted, according to district rules, because it had not reached halftime when it was interrupted.

That didn't phase the Wildcats, who dominated Pittsburg and kept up their drive to the playoffs.

Sulphur Springs (7-2-1-2 in District 16-4A with 25 points) sits just one point out of second place behind Pleasant Grove and Paris, who are tied with 26 points. Pleasant Grove and Paris play each other in the season finale on Monday, so if the Wildcats win their final two games in regulation, they will be in the playoffs.

"Our guys are taking care of business," said SSHS head coach Andy Holt. "We try to treat every game as a playoff game because we've got to win and we've got to get those three points. We came out and didn't slip up."

Seven different players scored points for Sulphur Springs with senior Cole Lancaster getting two goals. The Larios brothers - freshman Rodrigo and senior Rolando - scored the first-half goals to put the Wildcats on top.

Rodrigo's goal came on a point-blank rebound off a shot by junior Zach Junot that hit the right post 10 minutes into the contest. Larios whipped the rebound in and the Wildcats had the lead.

Rolando's goal came with 7:30 left in the half when he was awarded a penalty kick from 12 yards out after being taken down while in the 18-yard box. He fired it past the goal keeper's left hand for a 2-0 advantage.

That was more than enough because the Sulphur Springs defense was too strong. The back row of Tate Ramirez, Jon Holt, Graham Northcutt and Omar Ortiz allowed Pittsburg just three shots, and the only real threat came from 40 yards out in the second half. Goalkeeper Mario Arellano jumped up to bat the kick away.

"The defense did a good job of not giving them opportunities," Holt said. "They had one from 40 - they took a great shot - and Mario made a great save on it. I think he was really only tested one time, and he made the play.

"Graham, Jon, Omar and Tate did a sound job back there not giving them chances. That always makes a goalie look good keeping a clean sheet when they do that. Mario saved us a bunch this year, but he had an easy game today."

In the second half, the Wildcat attack was relentless. Lancaster got his first goal 6:35 into the half when he ran onto a pass sent ahead by Ramirez. His 15-yard shot from the right wing left the keeper with no chance.

Ortiz then got into the scoring act three minutes later when he rebounded a header off a throw-in to put the Wildcats up, 4-0.

Ramirez picked up his second assist of the game when he knocked a header to Oscar Marroquin off another throw-in by Graham Northcutt. Marroquin headed the ball into the net, and the Wildcats took a 5-0 lead with 30 minutes still to play.

Lancaster scored his second goal of the game and 15th of the season on a pass from Wilfred Castillo, who put in the Wildcats' seventh goal at the 12:34 mark.

"I thought our guys played better today. I thought we moved the ball better and created better opportunities, and then we finished them," Holt said. "We definitely played well, and I'm excited right now because we're playing good, and you want to do that if we hopefully get into the playoffs."

The Wildcats need to beat North Lamar on Friday before facing last-place Liberty-Eylau on Monday. Senior Night activities are scheduled before Friday's varsity game, at about 7 p.m. at Gerald Prim Stadium.

"I thought we played well, and we have to do the same thing on Friday," Holt said. "I think North Lamar will be excited because it was a 2-0 game at their house, so I think they're going to be ready to play."

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