Late goal lifts Wildcats over T-High, 1-0

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

March 11, 2008 - It took an hour and 15 minutes of playing time on Monday, but the Sulphur Springs Wildcats were finally able to break a scoreless deadlock and edge Texas High 1-0 at Gerald Prim Stadium.

The Wildcats, playing the back end of a boys-girls doubleheader at Prim, and Tigers had to deal with standing water and a muddy field that may have hampered some scoring chances. But, the Wildcats still controlled the game, taking 18 shots on goal to just four for T-High.

The Wildcats also clinched at least second place in District 11-4A with the victory. Sulphur Springs (10-2 in district) has an outside chance at the district title after Pleasant Grove upset Mount Pleasant 2-0, but MP (11-1) would have to lose its final two games for Sulphur Springs to get 11-4A's top seed in the playoffs.

SSHS head coach Andy Holt is more concerned about building momentum as the Wildcats head into the playoffs - probably against McKinney Boyd on March 20.

"Our guys played well. They possessed the ball, and for as muddy as it was, we still did a pretty good job of passing it around," Holt said. "It seemed like it was in their end the majority of the time.

"We've played pretty well lately, which is what you want to be doing at this time of the year."

Wildcat senior Oscar Marroquin got the game-winner with 4:29 to play when he received a pass from classmate Tate Ramirez on the right side. He dribbled between a pair of converging defenders, leaving him one-on-one against T-High keeper Wayne Smith. The keeper came off his line, and Marroquin knocked it to his left into the net.

"It was a great goal. Oscar attacked the goal," Holt said. "That's the way you draw it up, and he performed it extremely well. I told Oscar that when he's attacking the goal, he does so much better. That's when he's at his best."

Jesus Torres, Rodrigo Larios, Victor Medina and Bailey Booher were solid in the back, preventing Texas High from getting very many legitimate opportunities.

The Wildcats, on the other hand, had some chances early but couldn't capitalize. The T-High keeper made a nice save on a diving header from Cruz Lozano midway through the first half, then with 13:30 to go, Tate Ramirez blasted a 22-yard set kick off the left post. The shot was rebounded by Booher, but his kick skirted wide.

In the second half, Marroquin had two opportunities in the four minutes leading up to his goal, but both shots were wide left, and Lozano had another kick from eight yards out that hit the side pole.

The Wildcats will play their third game in four days today when they travel to North Lamar. The JV contest is set for 5:30 p.m., with the varsity to start at about 7:15.

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