The Fort Worth North Side boys booked their place in the area round of the 4A playoffs with a convincing 3-0 victory over Fort Worth Arlington Heights on Monday night at Handley Field.
Antonio Top scored twice for the Steers, who will face the winner of Tuesday’s matchup between Burleson Centennial and Cleburne.
North Side (15-4-4) had the benefit of a brisk wind in the first half and looked intent on taking advantage. The Steers applied early pressure but were denied twice by the woodwork.
In the 13th minute Benjamin Duenes struck the crossbar from about 25 yards out, trying to beat Heights keeper Chris Nguyen, who was off his line. Five minutes later, Top similarly hit the crossbar from about 30 yards out.
Twenty-six minutes in, the Steers finally found the back of the net when Top lined up from almost 30 yards out. From the right side the field, he unleashed a precise shot that dipped over Nguyen and into the left corner of the goal for the 1-0 lead.
“It felt good,” Top said of his strike. “I felt confident the whole game and scoring that just topped it off.”
“Tony has been shooting well from the top of the defense all year,” North Side coach Garth Briggeman said. “So we wanted to get him some shots in front, so we just said, ‘Look if you’ve got the space and they back off of you take the shots.’”
Top missed just wide in the 32nd minute as North Side almost doubled the lead. The Steers did stretch their lead in the 36th minute as Top converted again, this time from a well designed set piece.
Victor Negrete received a right-side corner kick about 30 yards out and played it across into the box, where Top was able to redirect into the net to make it 2-0.
North Side got a gift near the end of the first half to take a 3-0 lead. Steers goalkeeper Erick Ortiz came up near midfield to restart off a foul. He played the ball into the Jackets’ penalty area and Nguyen mishandled the kick, allowing it to slide through his hands and across the goal line.
North Side did a good job of possessing the ball in the second half and not allowing Heights (15-7-2) many opportunities to take advantage of the wind. The Jackets were without four regular starters in the game.
“We just didn’t have enough tools in the bag,” Heights coach Chad Whitt said. “We didn’t play well and we didn’t react well with those guys being out.”
Heights girls cruise
The Fort Worth Arlington Heights girls cruised in their bi-district playoff meeting against Fort Worth North Side on Monday at Handley Field. The Jackets (18-4-2) got goals from different players in the 14-0 victory. Madison Jennings and Riley Reynolds each had three goals.
“I’m pleased with where we are,” coach Marcus Daugherty said. “I think we showed a good killer instinct tonight.”
The Jackets will next face the winner of Tuesday’s Kennedale-Crowley matchup. North Side finished the season 10-12.
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