Arriaga’s header seals Area Title

Posted

Erick Balderas was in between the numbers and the hash marks and sent a through ball to Ricky Avila, in between the numbers and the hash marks on the other side of the field.

The defense caught up to him and provided a slide tackle that also sent the ball out of bounds, setting up a corner kick from the right corner.

Avila was the one putting the ball in play and lofted a ball all the way to the left end of the net.

There sat Jose Luis Arriaga, practically alone with nobody in the direct vicinity of him.

He leaped up and met the ball with his head and guided the ball toward the post, sneaking it in between that pipe and the goalkeeper before he could even react.

Teammates in black and gold came swarming to celebrate the first goal of the game with just over two minutes remaining in regulation.

As the ball touched the twine, Booker T. Washington defenders hit the ground in disbelief of what just happened.

Nearly all 80 minutes had been played and although there were chances on both sides, none passed the goal line until Arriaga’s header.

It was a tense game, as are many postseason tilts, and that tension only increased with each minute ticking off the scoreboard.

Sealy Head Coach Juan Perez knew that clock was winding down but knew his boys would be good if they continued to play the way they were.

“[I told them] to be careful because when we make mistakes, we lose,” Perez said. “We didn’t this time and it was good. But I asked them to try and score from far and they didn’t, they just went with the game, we played the game that second half, very physically.”

The Tigers were racking up a majority of the scoring chances and put a number of more shots on net compared to the visiting War Eagles and Arriaga knew that control was going to pay off sooner or later.

“We were feeling confident, we were controlling the game but we just weren’t making our chances,” he said of the team’s impression before the goal.

And as soon as he saw his shot go in, even Arriaga couldn’t wrap his head around it.

“When I made it I just couldn’t believe it,” the junior said. “You dream of those kinds of moments, it’s really special … I’ll never forget this game.”

His head coach’s views weren’t all that far off when the scoreboard operator was finally put to work for something other than the clock.

“It was like a dream, it was kind of difficult to understand,” Perez noted. “Jose Luis had the chance to score right there with no guard behind him or next to him and he scored, it was a good goal.”

That goal was also good enough to make some history, erasing a double-digit-year hiatus from the regional quarterfinals.

“First time [going to the third round] in more than ten years,” Perez added. “It was not easy, they have a good team they played good.”

Sealy, however, played a little better and earned the Region 3 Area Championship to set up a meeting with a familiar foe.

The Fulshear Chargers secured a win over the Scarborough Spartans in the area round and will now square off with the Tigers for the third time this year to see who will go to the regional semifinals.

Sealy took both of the regular-season meetings and Perez knows that history will certainly be on the mind of Fulshear.

“It’s gonna be tough because we defeated them twice, in their home and our home and so they’re going to try and make changes and we have to make changes too,” the coach said. “We are playing way different now and we need to.”

Arriaga echoed those thoughts with a similar notion; “We got to get them again,” he said.

At the end of the movie, Perez also understands not every team gets to host a pair of postseason contests, and wanted to be sure he thanked all of those in attendance and keeping tabs via social media.

“I just want to say thank you, we had two home playoff games and we were pretty lucky with that,” Perez said. “Thanks for your support, we had a lot of people today and the feeling is great.”

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment