Soccer Cats survive wild second half

SSHS remains in second place

From Staff Reports

Feb. 18, 2008 - The Sulphur Springs Wildcats survived a wild second half on Friday to beat North Lamar 5-4 and stay within striking distance of first-place Mount Pleasant in District 16-4A soccer.

The Wildcats gave head coach Andy Holt his 99th career victory, but had to score two goals in the second half to break a 3-3 tie, and then hold on during an intense final 90 seconds at Gerald Prim Stadium.

"It was a wild game," said Holt. "It was one of those things where we talk about playing 80 minutes - we didn't do that, but we finished the game and got the 'W,' and that's the most important thing."

Sulphur Springs improved to 5-1 (15 points) in district and stayed three points behind Mount Pleasant (6-0, 18 points). The Wildcats also are now two full games ahead of third place, in which Pittsburg and Paris are tied and three other teams are just three points back.

The Wildcats took a 3-0 lead into halftime on first-half goals by Oscar Marroquin, Cruz Lozano and Omar Ortiz.

Marroquin's goal was assisted by Zach Junot, who ran onto a ball in the right corner, then dribbled toward the goal to draw Marroquin's defender to him. He then made a deft pass to Marroquin, who one-timed it into the net.

"It was a nice set-up and a nice goal," said Holt.

Tate Ramirez got the assist on the next goal, a corner kick which was played by Lozano. Then, Ortiz blasted a shot from outside the box that made it past the keeper.

But, the second half opened with North Lamar as the aggressor. The Panthers scored three goals in an eight-minute span to tie the score. The goals came on two throw-ins and a penalty kick.

The Wildcats got a penalty kick themselves about two minutes later, and Lozano scored to give the Wildcats a 4-3 advantage. Leo Becerra then provided the deciding goal.

But, North Lamar scored with about a minute-and-a-half remaining in the contest to draw to within 5-4.

"The last minute was very intense, and we did a good job of clearing the ball out and getting it back up the field. Our guys did a good job," Holt said. "The momentum definitely shifted, it was definitely in their favor, then we were able to score that fourth goal and get the momentum back."

Holt said the Wildcats are going to work on throw-ins this week before starting the second round of district play on Saturday against Paris. The Wildcats will travel to Texarkana today to play Liberty-Eylau (0-6, 0 points).

"Throw-ins are something we're going to drill on all week. We could easily see that in the playoffs. That's something we've got to drill," he explained. "To me, it's like a desire to win the ball. It's a 50/50 ball, and it goes to whoever wants it the most."

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