CORPUS CHRISTI — Come playoff time, the good teams find different ways to get the victory. The last week of games for the Gonzales Apaches proved just that, as the boys soccer team advanced to the Region IV-4A quarterfinals after beating Beeville Jones last Thursday 7-0 in the bi-district round then beating Hidalgo 1-0 in the area round on Tuesday.
There was no lack of athleticism on the field Tuesday between the Apaches and the Hidalgo Pirates.
“I’m just so excited, so thrilled that we could hold them off,” Gonzales head coach Greg Ramirez said after the game. “I knew they were going to be tough. Our main goal was to score early and keep them off our heels. But they were on our heels! They just kept on coming. Luckily our defense didn’t let them score. Our goalie saved us a lot on that one.”
In the fifth minute, Carlos Mendoza found Anthony Veliz in the box, who took a shot on goal. Adrian Rodriguez cleaned up the deflection, giving Gonzales the 1-0 early lead.
After their goal, the Apaches held back, focusing on defending instead of pushing up their attack. The focus for the team was their back line, who despite allowing no goals last Thursday, still needed improving, according to Ramirez.
“Tonight they proved that they can get one of these valley teams and hold them at zero, without scoring at all,” the head coach said.
Ramirez gave props to Antonio Hernandez, Julian Matamoros, Hervey Mata, Jorge Cerventes, Richard Grim and Kenneth Cavit who “all played their part.”
“They all played their role in this victory,” the head coach said.
Near the end of the game, a scuffle on Hidalgo’s side of the field led to officials getting in the middle of both teams and assessing red cards to players who left the bench area.
“That’s going to be one of our main focuses in the two days that we have before our next game,” Ramirez said. “I’m going to sit those guys down and have them understand that we need to have a cool head regardless on what the other team does. We cannot afford to get any cards.”
After two games, Anthony Veliz and Jorge Cervantes each have one yellow card. A trio of bench players were assessed red cards on Tuesday and are suspended for this upcoming game. Athletes who accumulate five yellow cards throughout the playoffs are suspended the next game.
The Apaches are set to take on Zapata on Friday, April 5 at Cabaniss Multi-Purpose Field in Corpus Christi. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.