BEDFORD — Keller Central built a three-goal lead Friday night but not by scoring from the run of play.
The Chargers used set pieces served up by Colin Nunley and Sebastien Delgado to run away with a 3-1 bi-district playoff win and spell the undoing of Arlington’s season.
Central (13-4-6) will face San Angelo Central on Friday in Abilene at a time to be determined.
“We work very hard on set plays, and it really showed how much that paid off tonight,” Central coach Dave Maher said. “After we built that lead, we knew Arlington had some very dynamic players, so we knew we wanted to keep them in front of us and make them work against our defense.”
Arlington (12-10-3) had its vulnerabilities exposed by the Chargers.
“Aside from those three goals, I thought we defended really well,” Arlington coach Jeff Waldrop said. “Our weakness all year has been on the set kicks, and if there’s a height disadvantage. That’s what got us tonight.”
Nunley and Delgado were nearly flawless kicking set pieces on the night.
Nunley’s corner effort in the 19th minute created enough chaos for Emile Accaoui to shoot in a rebound past Arlington goalkeeper Cristian Vega and a 1-0 lead.
Central added to that when Nunley squared off a 45-yard free kick to Kameron Maney, who headed it home to make it 2-0 in the 26th minute.
Delgado later sent a free kick toward the left side of the goal, and Layne Garcia was able to slip behind a defender and put back a rebound for Central’s third goal.
Arlington spent the second half on the attack with ball possession for the majority of time, but the Colts couldn’t reel in Central despite getting on the board in the 47th minute on a Steven Chavez goal.
Chavez broke free after Vega launched a booming free kick just past midfield to Reggie Gonzalez.
Gonzalez poked the ball over the heads of Central defenders to a sprinting Chavez, who knocked in the goal past keeper Brenden Ottman.
“I was pleased with how they responded in the second half,” Waldrop said. “I challenged them at halftime, but a three-goal deficit is hard to overcome.”
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