NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — Flower Mound Marcus goalkeeper Collin Hall’s lunging save in the closing seconds preserved the Marauders’ 4-3 victory over Southlake Carroll in a boys Class 5A Region I semifinals match Friday at the Birdville FA/AC.
Marcus (22-2-2) not only advanced to its first regional final since 2008, when it went on to claim the state title, but also exacted a measure of revenge against the Dragons, who bounced them from the first round of the playoffs each of the past two seasons. The Marauders will face Coppell at 2 p.m. Saturdayfor a trip to Austin.
“The difficult thing for us today was containing our emotions, I mean we lost to these guys two years in a row in the playoffs and our kids were up for this today,” Marcus coach John Gall said. “Today we got the goals we needed early, I think it settled us early and we were fortunate to hold on.”
Carroll (21-4-4) allowed just two goals in its three previous playoff outings, but Marcus scored twice in the first seven minutes.
It took less than three minutes for senior striker Ryan Bigbie to get the Marauders on the board on a deft assist from Jackson Bradford. Senior captain Tyler Mouton extended Marcus’ lead to 2-0 with 33:43 remaining when he scored on a free kick from Alex Totilo.
Carroll cut the lead to 2-1 on a goal by senior forward Jack Fuller from Tommy Price before Marcus answered with a skillfully lofted score by Victor Villarreal to take a 3-1 lead into halftime.
The teams traded penalty kick goals — the first by Price for Carroll and then Totilo for the Marauders — before the Dragons cut the lead to 4-3 in the 65th minute on a score by Jake Brabham.
Carroll made several attacks over the last 15 minutes, but every shot either just missed or Marcus keeper Collin Hall was there for the save, including in the last five seconds. The Dragons had an excellent opportunity on a run-out down the left side with a clear, directional shot in the final seconds, but Hall made a diving save just before the horn sounded.
“I saw him coming in. I thought I had to go get it,” Hall said. “There is no way he’s scoring on me, so I did what I had to do.”
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