DENTON — Birdville fell behind in the first half, but fought back for a 3-1 victory over Wichita Falls in a boys Class 4A sectional round playoff game at Denton High School on Thursday.
Weve started slow all year, thats been our one weakness, Hawks coach Roger Garcia said. But I knew once we got started, we were going to start scoring in bunches.
The Hawks will get the winner of Fridays regional quarterfinals match between Stephenville and Burleson Centennial .
Birdville (19-3-4) did fire an early warning shot. In the first minute, Jared Delgado found the ball at his feet near the top of the 18-yard box and his shot appeared to be headed for the upper left corner before Coyotes keeper Daniel Gutierrez got a hand on it to push it wide.
Five minutes later, Enrique Rangel made a long run down the right side of the pitch before dishing off to his brother, Jacob, who fired wide right. Ten minutes after that Juan Pablo Martinez also missed wide right on a tight angle shot from that side of the field.
But soon after, Wichita Falls (11-7-5) started applying pressure to the Hawks defense. In the 21st minute, a poor clearance teed up Pedro Reza, whose shot from 20 yards was right at Birdville keeper Josh McGuffin.
In the 24th minute, McGuffin was called on again when a deflected shot forced him to make a quick reaction save to his right.
About a minute later, the Coyotes pressure finally broke the Hawks defense. With Delgado on the ground apparently injured, play continued and Alexis Hernandez trapped a looping pass to the center of the penalty area before firing past a helpless McGuffin for the 1-0 Coyotes lead.
Wichita Falls nearly doubled the lead in the 31st minute as Reza sent a dipping shot from 22 yards out that McGuffin deftly pushed over the crossbar.
The save proved critical, as six minutes later Birdville was able to knot the score on a set piece. To the left of the goal from about 30 yards out, Enrique Rangel touched off to Jacob Lightcap, whose low blast found its way through everyone in front of goal, including Gutierrez. It was Lightcaps first goal of the season.
I thought it was perfect, he said. It was just straight through the wall and the goalie went the wrong way. It was just awesome.
In the closing seconds of the first half, Birdville nearly took the lead as Bryan Callejas hit the left upright, but the Coyotes were able to clear the threat.
In the 46th minute, Birdville did take the lead. Ryan Russells centering pass forced Gutierrez off his line to clear, but his punch found only Martinez, who maneuvered himself for a clear shot into the right side of the goal.
Jacob Rangel provided the Hawks with some insurance in the 65th minute. After advancing the ball about 20 yards, he put a right-footed shot from 25 yards out off the underside of the crossbar and just beyond the goal line.
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