BEDFORD — It took just four minutes for Arlington Sam Houston to build a two-goal lead against Keller on Friday afternoon.
The Texans then had to hang on for 76 more minutes before registering a 2-1 win in a bi-district match at Pennington Field.
Sam Houston (20-1-3) advances to play El Paso Americas or Midland Lee next week at a time, site and date to be determined.
“You know with a playoff game, there is always a lot of excitement and jitters, so we talked about really looking for that first goal early on,” Sam Houston coach Joey Rodriguez said. “To get two meant we did eventually have to play a different strategy and rely on defense.”
Miguel Alvarez started things off in the second minute, firing a shot from the left side of the field past Keller goalie Alex Tyler for 1-0 lead.
“I think he thought I was going to pass it,” Alvarez said. “And I had the opportunity to do that, but I also had an open shot.”
In the fourth minute, Tyler again was the victim of misfortune when the Texans were awarded a penalty kick after Marco Solario was felled near the goal area.
T.J. Marino swept the penalty shot to Tyler’s left as Tyler leapt right for a 2-0 cushion.
From there, Keller (13-5-4) went on the attack, registering 21 total possessions for the game as Sam Houston took a more methodical approach with only 16, five of them coming in the final eight minutes of the game.
The Indians were able to rebound in the ninth minute and cut the lead to one when Will Gilpin centered a running cross from the left corner, and Kyle Russell positioned himself to head it home.
After that, Sam Houston settled into a deliberate offense and relied on its defense.
“You have to give them credit for how they played there,” Keller coach Jason Bates said. “You can’t spot a team like that two goals and expect to break them down on defense after that.”
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