Christian Lerma scored in the 88th minute and Dallas Jesuit hung on to beat Arlington Sam Houston 2-1 in overtime to win the Class 6A boys state soccer final on Saturday at Birkelbach Field.
Jesuit (22-3-1) set up a corner kick and Israel Ollazarbal’s header bounced right to Lerma, who knocked home the game winner to give the Rangers their second UIL boys state soccer title and first since 2010.
“That’s the way the sport is,” Sam Houston coach Joey Rodriguez said. “Sometimes you can plan and go over strategy, but at the end of the day, it’s a game of inches and that’s what happened. They were able to get one in and we couldn’t.”
Jesuit got on the board first when Tommy Flaim drilled in a free kick from 35 yards out in the ninth minute. Jesuit and goal keeper Luke Ostrander did a good job keeping it a 1-0 game all the way through the middle of the second half.
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Jesuit was called for a foul just outside the box in the 57th minute and Jason Ramirez tied the game at 1-1 after he got the ball just past a diving Ostrander.
Sam Houston (22-3-2) had 11 shots in the second half to Jesuit’s two, but the Texans couldn’t take the lead. Sergio Martinez had two shot attempts go high late in the game and Nate Kopetsky sailed one over with seconds left in regulation.
Jesuit got the corner kick attempt late in the first overtime, and that’s when Lerma gave the Rangers the lead for good. The Texans had two close free kicks in the second overtime with Ostrander punching the ball away on the first attempt. They also had a shot on goal attempt with four minutes left, but Ostrander was there.
Sam Houston tried late to make a final push and send it to a shootout, but Jesuit was able to clear the ball on multiple possessions.
“Kudos to Jesuit, they made one more play than we did,” Rodriguez said.
The Texans were making their second state tournament (2015) and first state championship appearance. They finished with 21 shots, 10 on goal and five corner kicks.
Jesuit had eight, three and three, respectively. Ostrander, who made nine saves, was voted MVP.
“A lot of people doubted us. We graduated a lot of seniors from last year,” Rodriguez said. “Just one of those things — guys came together at the right time. We were able to put some wins together and got hot in the playoffs. It’s a blessing to be back here.”