The Gonzales Apaches boys soccer team overcame a slow first half to dominate the Bandera Bulldogs in the second half, beating the visitors 5-2 in a non-district game.
Senior striker Daniel Cruz came away with a hat trick, including a goal with 10 seconds left in the first half, to lead the team in scoring.
“I know the stuff that we’ve been working on in practice with all the passing and communicating worked better on the second half than the first half, that’s for sure,” Gonzales head coach Greg Ramirez said after the game. “First half we came out slow. We had to go inside and revamp and rethink our decision making, to make it happen in the second half.”
Coming back from the break, the Apaches spent most of the second half in Bandera’s territory, as shot after shot came raining down from the Gonzales forwards. Sergio Velazquez scored within the first two minutes of the half, then within seven minutes of each other, Cruz added two more goals with Johnathan Tejeda coming away with the team’s fifth goal of the night with a little under 11 minutes left in the half.
“Cruz’s play has been phenomenal lately, he’s been coming around,” Ramirez said. “It seems like every game he’s improving.”
“That’s going to be something we’re going to need more in the future,” Ramirez said of Cruz’s scoring ability.
The Apaches are now 15-1-1 overall, with another week until district play begins. Ramirez believes the team is going to need to improve their passing out in the wings in order to take that next step and make that deep playoff run.
“This season we’ve been working a lot of the middle,” Ramirez said, “and we’ve let the outside alone. If we involve the outside and the middle in give-and-gos, we should be unstoppable. But that’s the thing, we do have to work on that.”
The Apaches open district on Friday, Feb. 21 against La Vernia, with the game set to start at 7 p.m.